I’m not as big of a fan of Edgar Wright as a lot of people, but holy shit did I love Baby Driver. It is both a modern twist on your everyday heist movie and a timeless throwback to a 70s-style action flick (before franchises became the norm). After Wright, the true hero of the film is the soundtrack, a music bed that drives (sorry) every scene.
Ansel Elgort is the titular Baby, a getaway driver for criminal mastermind Doc (a thankfully limited appearance by Spacey, a little of his smarm goes a long way). Baby cares for his foster father by day, charms a waitress (Lily James) by night, and in between energetically zigs and zags any number of cars on a series of heists and robberies. Baby has tinnitus from the accident that killed his parents, and he needs music playing to maintain his equilibrium.
From the opening chase, to the giddy dance through Atlanta of the opening credits, through to the (regretfully typical) “one last job,” the movie is pure adrenalin. It kind of plays out exactly as you’d expect (spoiler alert: that last heist doesn’t go so well) and then makes a shift that manages to be both expected and surprising. I would’ve loved this movie anyway, but it really stuck the landing, and the ending works well to shift this beyond just another heist movie.
The supporting cast are all great, especially Jon Hamm as Buddy, both charming and dark; Jamie Foxx as Bats, dark and crazy; and CJ Jones as Joseph, Baby’s deaf foster dad, conveying so much with his eyes. Elgort is fine, better in his earnest and energized scenes than he is when he is actually speaking, but he still carries the movie just fine even with his limited range.
Nothing but great music that really feels organic to every scene (and given how many scenes involve the soundtrack playing into the context of the scene, the licensing for this must’ve been fun). Baby Driver is just pure adrenalized fun throughout, a speedy thrill ride that never lets up, and with every twist and turn still left me feeling breezy joy.
My Grade – A-