Ah, Edgar Wright. If there’s ever a director who is so mutually loved by audiences, it’s this guy. With titles such as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End under his belt, it came as no surprise that his forthcoming film, a somewhat musically-fuelled comedy, would generate so much hype from film-fans across the globe.
Baby Driver tells the tale of Baby (Ansel Egelfort), a charming young man who uses music to drown out the constant ringing caused by tinnitus. Oh, yeah, he also happens to be an extremely gifted getaway driver for Doc (Kevin Spacey) and his merry-band of criminals. Doc never uses the same crew twice, but Baby’s exquisite skill at handbrake turns means he’s Spacey’s lucky charm. And when the action starts to kick in, you begin to understand why.
Shifting away from his recognisable, British aesthetic, Wright has seemed to travel across the pond into uncharted territory, yet there’s nothing unfamiliar with Baby Driver‘s overwhelming charm and wit. Edgar Wright is the master of the art, and the art for Wright is in the editing. His trademark use of quick, graceful shots is on full display here, this time synchronised perfectly with the sensational soundtrack on offer. The use of music is of paramount importance to Wright, and for Egelfort’s main lead, but more importantly, it has a purpose as a narrative device. It helps dictate the mood (“I have different iPods for different moods”) and helps the viewer enter the head of Baby. The film’s tagline couldn’t be more apt. ‘All you need is one killer track.’ Luckily for Wright, he has many.
As the stakes rise and Baby is forced to give in to Kevin Spacey’s hard-faced demands, the performances start to shine. With Spacey, Jamie Foxx, and John Hamm all starring as hardened criminals, their presence on screen hold your attention and propel you along on their exhilarating journey. Yet it’s the energetic on-screen relationship between Egelfort’s Baby and Lily James’ Deborah that holds the most weight on the narrative. Whilst the film could have benefited from an extra 15-minutes or so on strengthening the plausibility of their relationship, (you’ve just met the guy!), you really feel that there is an instant connection between the two leads. They are two young ‘uns living their own dysfunctional and unsatisfactory lives, trying desperately to break free from their shackles and experience a normal life together. It’s soppy, but much like Scott Pilgrim, Wright manages to make it exciting and organic.
Yet despite Wright’s charming and alluring tone, the common denominator in all of his written work, there are moments towards the final act that viewers could ponder the direction in which Wright is aiming for. As the murder starts to kick in and the bodies start to rise, it seems as if the film tries to be more action-oriented than anything else. This, for me, isn’t a major flaw, if anything it makes the final third more compelling. I just can’t help but feel that it feels unavoidably jarring from the rest of Wright’s charismatic story.
Baby Driver, on the whole, is a thrilling experience. With the best use of a Queen soundtrack since 1986’s Highlander, and the rest of the killer set list at Wright’s disposal, and its perfect synchronisation with the action on offer; Baby Driver is a high-contender for this year’s best movie.
Download the soundtrack and roll those windows down. You’ll have the best drive home of your life.
FINAL VERDICT: A
A journey worth experiencing!