Baby Driver is directed by Edgar Wright and is his latest feature after the conclusion of his acclaimed The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. The film stars a renowned cast with Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm.
The film follows Baby (played by Ansel Elgort) as a getaway driver working for a criminal mastermind ‘Doc’ (played by Kevin Spacey), who suffers from tinnitus, and hence uses music as a way to soothe the pain as well as to heighten his reflexes during some much intense heist escapes. We see Baby as he engages in these insanely dangerous, not to mention law breaking, escapes with ease as he continuously listens to music, much to the awe of the other members who he’s partnered up with.
Along the way, Baby meets Debora (played by Lily James) and is instantly smitten by her. He is ready to leave the criminal world with her behind but Doc forces him to do continue doing his bidding, and this is where the film takes a turn from a film with style to one with substance. Fret not though, as the whole of the movie is wrought with skillful directorial choices which may remind you of Matthew Vaughn’s hit Kingsman: The Secret Service.The technical aspects of the film such as the editing and the cinematography are just plainly amazing. Tight editing keeps the movie from falling apart during its slightly slow second act, and makes it a joy to watch all the insane action sequences. Couple that with the wonderful cinematography and we get one of the best looking films to have been released this year.
The way the film is edited proves the fact that we don’t need fast cuts with the use of handheld cameras to keep up the pacing, much as some other films have tried to emulate in the recent years (mostly inspired by the Bourne trilogy). Starting off with an amazingly long take to a very appropriate song, it is a marvel to watch these scenes unfold with such care and love from Wright as he masterfully directs our attention to happenings in Baby’s life.And its not just the action sequences. Even quieter scenes are directed so well that it never takes you out of the experience. The soundtrack helps a lot too in that there is virtually no scene where some form of music or other is not playing, especially considering how the music is tied organically to the scenes in question and as such help enhance the mood just as it does for our protagonist. Its constantly brought up that Baby is the best at what he does, and for all that talk, he delivers. Pumping music throughout the escapes, Baby manages to elude everyone with some insanely good chase sequences which may at some times remind the viewer of the recent Fast & Furious installments, but with more logic that all the sequences from those films combined would make.
The film also manages to make good use of the top notch caste that it has. Kevin Spacey, as usual, delivers sinister yet feel-good lines of dialogue with such ease that you might get confused as to whether trust him as a good guy or bad guy, much like Baby is throughout most of the movie. Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm are also at the top of their game and it is a delight to watch Foxx absolutely slay the people present in a room with him with some very smart quips and, as I suspect, some improvisation. Eiza González is mostly there as eye candy but it is fun to watch her keep her calm in the midst of all the heist plannings and executions.
Lily James gives an acceptable performance, although it would’ve been better to see some more depth to her character, especially given how important she becomes to the plot in the later half of the movie. Surprisingly enough, it is CJ Jones’ portrayal as Joseph (Baby’s adopted guardian) that might win over peoples’ hearts. Giving a heartwarming performance as the deaf guardian who gets involved in all the criminal crossfire, it is a delight to watch him and Baby interact in some of the quieter scenes.
In the end, Baby Driver delivers on the high octane, music-filled action that that many similar films promise to do so (and fail, miserably). Excellent direction and strong casting, along with an almost musical-like vibe leads this film to victory as one of the freshest thrillers in recent memory. Do check it out if you still haven’t.