Baby Driver is written and directed by Edgar Wright and stars Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx.
That’s right folks, we’re in Edgar Wright territory. Get very very excited.
Yet another brainchild of the wildly talented writer/director Edgar Wright, Baby Driver centers around Baby (Elgort), a young and talented getaway driver who, after an accident at a young age, was left with tinnitus. Driving heist jobs for his boss (Spacey) as a young adult, he drowns out the so-called “hum in the drum” with different rhythms and tempos within music. After falling for a music-loving waitress (James) and being caught up in a heist doomed to fail, Baby is forced to outrun cops and criminals, face the music, and in the end, drive like hell.
No more buildup or waiting around, Baby Driver is the best film I’ve seen all year.
In all the thinking I’ve done about this film since I saw it roughly 2 days ago, I’ve felt a sensation left unto me by no other film I’ve ever seen in theaters. Rather than the usual dismount from my theater high so that I may consider a film’s flaws for the sake of my review, Baby Driver has simply gotten better and better with the more time I’ve let it marinate in my head. This film is exuberant, loud, and gleefully kickass, complete with a style in a class of its own. Director Wright continues to run circles around many-a-filmmaker working today, and is at the top of his game yet again to show us that he is still one of the best directors in modern cinema. The cinematography, writing, sound mixing, and editing are all packed full of Wright’s trademark style and techniques, making for a film lover’s paradise at the theater. I guarantee that upon any number of repeat viewings of this film, you will always notice something that you hadn’t before, a true sign of Wright in his natural element.
The film’s various action set pieces are also very well executed and shot, especially the many chase sequences in which long and drawn-out shots ultimately nullify any use of quick, jump-cut action used by many action filmmakers today. A commonly underrated asset of Wright’s ability is his talent for shooting intense and high-octane action, a talent which is on display in full force throughout the film, especially during the film’s much more personal and emotional conclusion.
While the lineup of stars that round out the film’s cast are some pretty big names, they live up to any measure of expectation that their reputations can build, and elevate the film even further. Elgort, a relative newcomer outside of Young Adult novel adaptation films, surprised the hell out of me with his terrific performance in this film. Elgort brings such a humane yet cool likeability to the character of Baby that I immediately wanted to wear my sunglasses and earphones anytime I drove anywhere. Lily James was a welcome surprise as well, with a warming and adventurous charm that was not only delightful to watch, but also led to some fantastic onscreen chemistry between her and Elgort, an element that drives a lot of the second and third act. The bigger-name talents including Spacey, Hamm, González, and Bernthal, all of whom make up a part of the criminal element in the film, were all perfectly cast in their roles and gave excellent performances all around. Jamie Foxx’s performance in this film is personally my favorite of his in nearly five years, as his work in this film is some of his best since 2012’s Django Unchained.
Did I mention before that this film is really stylish? Every shot in this film is expertly crafted to bring the film to life, and at times even feels like one fluid and continuous frame from start to finish. The transitions are practically seamless and fuse with the sound mixing and editing in true Edgar Wright fashion, making for one of the most enjoyable theater experiences all year from a filmmaking standpoint. And, because Baby Driver is so heavily rooted in music, it seems only fair to talk about this film’s soundtrack.
Because good lord this film’s soundtrack is amazing.
While the film is in no way a musical (it’s more like a pseudo-musical in all honesty), the soundtrack adds such an important layer to this film that it feels like a character all its own. With a variety fit for music lovers of all tastes, each song on the OST boasts its own colorful and rambunctious beats and rhythms to find the perfect level of diversity. But aside from just how good the soundtrack is, its use in the film makes it even better. As said before, the music truly does feel like a character in the film, at times controlling the pace, editing, cuts, transitions, actions, dialogue, and even certain shots in the film. The soundtrack is placed throughout the film and its filmmaking in the most subtle and creative of ways, which is truly a display of how much precise effort, love, and care was put into the making of this film. This is an attribute that’s incredibly rare in today’s world and shows a true passion and love for film on the part of Wright. This film and the culmination of all its wonderful elements ultimately feel like a love letter to those who also love and are passionate about film. In no combination of any words can I praise that enough.
Baby Driver is yet another grand-slam brought to us by one of my favorite directors working in Hollywood today. It’s fun, it’s vibrant, it’s made with the most expert precision and skill, and most importantly, it’s an excellent film. I have not one single complaint with Baby Driver. It just simply continues to get better within the anodes of my mind with every passing thought of it, and will only continue to do so with more time. I haven’t ever been itching to fit in the second viewing of a film as much as I have with this film, and look forward to many rewatches both now and in the future. Baby Driver is everything I wanted it to be and more, and absolutely gets an ever-so-coveted A+.