The minute Baby Driver begins, we’re inside a red Subaru with four people: a driver with Ray-Ban wayfarer shades and listening to music through earbuds. The other three? Black jackets, matching glasses and intentions — they’re here to rob a bank in Atlanta.
From the moment the bank robbery begins, we don’t leave the red Subaru. Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) immediately places the audience in Baby’s shoes, played by actor Ansel Elgort. We hear the music he hears and eventually fall in love with his youthful spirit and charm.
During the first bank heist, Wright never allows the audience into the bank. Actually, we never see any heists take place because we’re in Baby’s shoes, baby. And this is just the first bit of detail that makes Baby Driver unique and quite the ride.
Baby is involved in a heist ring led by Doc (Kevin Spacey). Our initial heist has a group consisting of Buddy (Jon Hamm), his wife, Darling (Eiza González), and the hot-headed Griff (Jon Bernthal). From the onset, the dialogue is crisp. There’s never a dull moment, especially during heated exchanges surrounding Baby and why he’s always listening to iPods.
Luckily for the audience, Doc never brings back the same crew twice, so we see actor Jamie Foxx put on a fun performance as Bats, who nails each line with a silver tongue. Oh, and Foxx playing a cold-blooded killer turns this film on its head during some scenes. During some sequences, Foxx carries the comedy and tension. It’s refreshing to see him work well within a Wright film.
We discover Baby wears earbuds due to a “low hum in his drum” thanks to a childhood car accident that left his hearing impaired. Throughout the film, whenever Baby takes out an earbud, there’s a faint humming in the background as events take place on-screen. Wright made sure the audience was Baby. The immersion in this film was never broken and Wright’s attention to detail elevates this film.
Now, Baby Driver can’t be high-octane for nearly two hours, so Wright introduces us to Baby’s love interest, Debora (Lily James). Debora’s a waitress at a local diner, and her first appearance is on the heels of a song about, well, a woman named Debora.
The moments when the film doesn’t find in the middle of a wonderfully orchestrated car chase sequence with awe-inspired stunts, there’s a romance to unearth between Debora and Baby. And the romantic side of Baby Driver doesn’t detract from the action. Actress Lily James does a great job at bringing the best out of Elgort, as a friend of mine so wonderfully said.
There aren’t many flaws to this film, with its wit and well-written story, but I think there’s something to be said when Spacey and Hamm get overshadowed. Not to say they’re bad in their roles, but they’re not much more than just Spacey and Hamm. There’s more emotion found in the other characters.
Baby Driver is in line with Wright’s fun-natured, exceptional track record. This is a story that never falls into cliches. The movie plays with its soundtrack in a way that keeps your ears perked and attention on-screen. Wright has yet another winner on his hands.
I was able to attend an advanced screening of ‘Baby Driver’ thanks to Sony Pictures and Allied Marketing. ❤
‘Baby Driver’ is rated R, runs 1 hour and 53 minutes, and it releases in North America on June 28, 2017.