REVIEW: Baby Driver (2017)

Theatrical Release Poster – TriStar Pictures

The following is a review of Baby Driver – Directed by Edgar Wright.

In Edgar Wright’s newest film – Baby Driver – one character remarks that “you don’t need a score to do a score,” a proposed fact that the talented writer-director refutes with one of the most entertaining films that I’ve seen in years.

Baby Driver is an action heist film set in Atlanta about a young getaway driver, Baby (played by Ansel Elgort), who suffers from tinnitus that he drowns out by constantly listening to music. Baby works as a getaway driver to pay off a debt that he owes to Doc (played by Kevin Spacey), the criminal heist mastermind that he works for.

But after his debt has seemingly been paid, Doc returns to disrupt Baby’s new life by ordering him to return to work for him. If Baby refuses, then Doc promises to hurt his loved ones.

I saw Baby Driver more than a month ago, but even though it took me quite a while to actually jot down my thoughts in a full review, I haven’t stopped thinking about this movie, which I suspect is sure to be the most rewatchable film of 2017. I love Baby Driver.

It could be argued that Baby Driver is another case of a film being ‘style over substance,’ but even if that is true, then it is the most audience pleasing of its kind. Not only does Baby Driver contain some fantastically elaborate and jaw-dropping car chase scenes that make it seem like the film was made by someone absolutely obsessed with being chased by the cops with a six-star wanted level in a Grand Theft Auto video game.

But the film also has this upbeat soundtrack that acts as the film’s beating heart. And the music is sublime. Did it take some getting used to seeing Ansel Elgort lip-sync in his very first scene of the film? Absolutely. But then you notice how the entire film is choreographed around the music. Baby literally cannot complete the job if the song isn’t at the right spot — at the right moment. Baby Driver is basically a musical. Only instead of having someone act like Gene Kelly, the surroundings and the cars do the dancing. It is the most ambitious film Edgar Wright has ever made, and he pulled it off.

The entire cast is brilliant as well. Jamie Foxx is perfectly fun to watch, but also works as the primary antagonist. Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm are excellent, and the film’s protagonist works way better than I imagined he would. Ansel Elgort, whose character costume makes him look very much like a young Han Solo (a role he, supposedly, unsuccessfully auditioned to play in the upcoming Star Wars spin-off), really impressed me. Without spoiling anything, I’ll also add that there are some good character twists that I didn’t see coming.

In Baby Driver, a bank teller quotes Dolly Parton to our protagonist. Basically, if you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain. Baby Driver, as a film, isn’t all sunshine and rainbows either. I have a couple of problems with the film that prevent me from giving it a perfect score. I think that the ending is slightly problematic, as it goes on for a little bit too long.

But it mostly comes down to the way the female characters are written, or rather underwritten. Lily James’ Deborah doesn’t get a lot to do in the film, other than being ready to go with Baby wherever he wants to go, whenever he wants to go. It’s not that James is bad in the role, though. She does everything she needs to do with her underdeveloped role.

But it is a flat-out fantastic film. Now, I don’t think it’s Edgar Wright’s best, as I’ve got a soft spot for Hot Fuzz, but I’d probably put it right below that film. All in all, Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is definitely the most entertaining movie of the summer of 2017.

9.5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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