Edgar Wright makes interesting movies.
Whether or not you enjoyed Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Hot Fuzz, or Shaun of the Dead, you’d be hard pressed to argue that they’re boring. Every shot is creative, dynamic and bursting with playful energy.
When I discovered his latest project was an action thriller packed full of car chases with a kick-ass soundtrack, I couldn’t imagine a better use for his talents, provided the film didn’t take itself too seriously.
No worries on that front, Baby Driver is 2 hours of over the top, incessant fun, which moves through it’s run time in a frenzy of action, music and slick dialogue.
The movie is, unsurprisingly, about a getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort), a real “Mozart in a Go-Kart”. An awkward youth who lost his parents as a child and fell into a life of crime after becoming indebted to “Doc” (Kevin Spacey), and his motley crew of enjoyably over the top gangsters.
Kevin Spacey is a perfect counterpoint to the cartoonish flash of the other thugs, as he brings his unique brand of subtle menace to the role of mob boss.
Ansel Elgort pulls off the lead role well, giving Baby the effortless cool of Ryan Gosling in Drive, but with a much needed dose of humanity and humour to balance out the stern faced automotive acrobatics.
Things get complicated when Baby strikes up a romance with waitress Deborah, (Lily James), and he has to try keep her safe from the dangers of his criminal companions.
While the entire criminal cast is solid, with the likes of John Bernthal, John Hamm and Eliza Gonzalez all providing great performances, It is Jamie Foxx, playing the unhinged “Bats”, who steals the show.
The narrative is perfectly serviceable, but it’s the action and music which make this movie great.
There is no-one better than Wright at capturing a fluid sense of motion on camera, whether it’s something as simple as Baby moving through his apartment, or a 20 minute car chase cross half the city, he finds creative ways to convey speed and movement which provide incredible spectacle with minimal visual fatigue.
This cinematic flair is enhanced by the incredible way the soundtrack is organically blended with each shot. While there have been many great films that have their score close to the heart of the film, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a close weaving of the story, cinematography and soundtrack.
The music is the glue which holds the whole film together, instead of just the auditory lace around the edges. Each track organically melds to its scene, and each beat matches a moment of action.
While there have been many films who have told a similar story, none of them had the flair or pure fun of this one. Baby Driver takes a familiar formula and delivers something effortlessly cool and endlessly entertaining.
Running Time: 113 MIN
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx Jon Bernthal
Production Studio: Working Title Films, Big Talk Productions, Media Rights Capital
Distributor: Tristar, Sony Pictures
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