Let’s get this straight, I like Edgar Wright. I think he’s a fantastic talent and I always look forward to whatever he’s doing. But I do feel as if the internet overrates him. Because while Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are excellent, The World’s End and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World are just pretty good. And none of you have ever seen A Fistful of Fingers, admit it. That’s not to insult Wright, but considering some of the internets declare him the best director out there right now, I just thought we should rein in it a bit. But could Wright make a claim to that title with his latest film Baby Driver?
Baby (Ansel Elgort, The Fault In Our Stars) is a getaway driver for Doc (Kevin Spacey, American Beauty), who sets up many heists around Atlanta. It appears that Baby might have got away from this life when he plans to run away with Debora (Lily James, Cinderella) but he is pulled into one final heist.
While Baby Driver is far more than this, and I will get into the more than this later, Baby Driver is at its heart a good old fashioned car chase movie. But if you are starting to get terrible flashbacks to Fast and Furious, don’t worry. This film is nothing like that. Because when this movie has a car chase, it actually has real cars on a real street doing some very well choreographed chasing. It feels weird that I should be praised but this but considering the garbled CGI mess that was Fast and Furious‘ races and chases, it is something I have to applaud. Because of that, the chases are all the more exciting as it’s actually impressive when Baby manages to evade traffic and drift out of the way of trouble. There’s also a rawness to the chases I like. Crashes happen, the car gets closer to the wall than it probably should have done. It makes it feel all the more real and in the end, more exciting.
But it’s not all about the car chases, it’s about the music as well. That’s because the quirk of this movie is that because Baby has tinnitus, he needs to constantly listen to music to drown it out. And luckily we get to listen to that music as well because this film would get into one-star territory if all we heard was classic tracks leaking from Baby’s earphones. I get enough of that on the bus without getting it in my film. Because Wright seems to know as much about music as he does film, it’s incredibly well executed as well. This isn’t just random music played over the top of scenes because it will make for a killer official soundtrack, looking at you Suicide Squad, it’s the right song for the right scene. And the movie is exquisitely edited to time itself well with the music, making the action scenes seem more like a very bloody dance.
I would argue that the music is more important than the car chases. This film is very clear about the power of songs through the characterization of Baby. He is a very quiet person, with some of his fellow characters even suggesting that he is a mute or mentally ill. He’s certainly not any of that, he just uses songs to communicate his feelings rather than words. That’s shown in the relationship between him and Debora. It would have been very easy for Wright to be a bit lazy on this part of the film and just make Debora into the standard pretty girl, a plot device just there to give Baby a reason to get out of crime. But no, he crafts this really touching relationship which you really do care about. Ansel Elgort and Lily James share a lot of chemistry together and they are given very cute scene togethers, cute enough to make a stone heart like me will them together.
But it would be wrong for me to ignore the other characters as if it is one thing that Wright does incredibly well, it has a cast of memorable folk to enjoy the rest of the movie is. Kevin Spacey is as joyous as you’d expect in a movie like this, relishing every brilliant line he’s given. It’s nice to see him star in a good movie as well, I still have scars from Nine Lives so can’t imagine how much he’s still suffering from that. Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Eiza Gonzalez (Jem and the Holograms) are also brilliant as an overly lovey-dovey couple who only love one thing more than eachother, crime. I do always enjoy bad people being in love with each other and it’s very obvious that both Hamm and Gonzalez are having a lot of fun playing these characters. There are a lot more characters I could mention, heck there are some that are barely there but make an impact, but I am making an effort to make sure these things don’t go too far above 1000 words. I’m failing at that by the way.
There are some tiny nitpicks I suppose I have to mention in the name of balance. As much as the editing is brilliant throughout most of the movie, it can sometimes be a bit hectic in the action scenes which can mean you lose focus on the actual action. And this is a really biased view, but considering how much Golden Earring’s Radar Love was played in the excellent trailers, I wish we could have had a longer scene using it in the movie. It is the best driving song of all time after all. And err, that’s it. Maybe I won’t go too far over 1000 words after all.
Baby Driver is exactly what you want from a car chase movie. You have an intriguing plot with plenty of colorful characters to keep your interest when no cars are involved, you have a fantastic soundtrack you will be singing along to in to in the car and of course, the action scenes are fantastically done for the most part. It actually feels sort of wrong deeming it as just a car chase movie because it’s far more than it, it’s a declaration of how amazing music is and what some silly words put to a jaunty tune can do for us. Baby Driver a magnificent movie and a must watch.