As a fan of every Edgar Wright film I have seen (admittedly only the Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World) I had high expectations of Baby Driver, especially when I saw the cast included Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal and Jon Hamm (amongst others). My excitement reached peak levels when I saw a teaser/trailer remix cut which Edgar Wright shared on twitter.
The story is based around Baby (Ansel Elgort), a good hearted getaway driver, rarely seen without earphones in to drown out the ‘hum-in-the-drum’ of long term tinnitus as a result of a car accident as a child. Seeking to pay off a debt to the calm and collected Doc (Kevin Spacey), a criminal who coordinates heists in exchange for a cut of the takings, Baby has been his driver on every job since they first met, and Doc considers him something of a lucky charm. Baby, on the other hand, wants to pay off his debt and get out, the criminal life not being the life he wants to lead.
The film sets it’s own expectations from the start. The opening sequence is brilliantly set to music, as is the rest of the film, and as we watch our titular character walk to the coffee shop in step to the music, with key lyrics appearing as graffiti and signs around him, we are immediately aware of how important the music is to the film. Indeed, words such as ‘musical’ and ‘opera’ are oddly fitting when trying to describe the film to someone who hasn’t seen it. That said, it isn’t the films actors that are doing the singing. The film sings it’s own song, a medley of classics that shouldn’t really fit together but, in the heat of the moments of the film, all feature perfectly.
If I was to be really critical, I found the character of Deborah (Lily James) lacking depth, especially compared to Baby, Bats (Jamie Foxx) and Buddy (Jon Hamm) but this is not Lily James’s fault, nor is really anyone’s fault. Some might even argue it is purposeful, given the way the film pans out (trying my best to avoid spoilers here). But I only felt this after the film, when you step out of the cinema and those moments when you reflect on what you just saw. For every minute of the film itself I was in awe of this incredibly unique and incredibly stylish film that I have come to expect from Edgar Wright now.
Do I like it as much as Scott Pilgrim vs The World? Perhaps not, but then Scott Pilgrim is the quintessential nerd love story. Would I give it 5 stars though, hell yes I would.
If you want to see something original, well told, funny, exhilarating, moving and that leaves you with a smile on your face, you won’t be disappointed with Baby Driver. It met the high expectations and then some. You should definitely go see it.