Baby Driver, Edgar Wright’s first outing as both director and writer at once, is not just another action-packed car chase film. It is so much more than that. Baby (Ansel Elgort) is the character at the heart of this story. He knows how to drive a car and one would think his earphones were stuck in his ears. The music helps drown out the constant sound that rings in his ears ever since he was in the car accident that killed his mother. He is forced to work as a getaway driver after bank heists to pay off a debt he owes Doc (Kevin Spacey) after coming across him earlier on in his life. Once he manages to pay his debt, Baby reckons they are even but Doc is not finished with him.
What will strike the public most about this film is the musical element. It is not just your average film where music plays in the background, the soundtrack is very much an integral piece of the whole. Without the music there would be no Baby Driver as it has now been presented to us. The car-chasing sequences and shoot-outs are masterfully choreographed to fit the music. Whether it’s shots being fired or simply Baby’s gestures and movements during the crazy car chases, all these moments fit perfectly around the rhythm of the retro songs on the soundtrack that includes hits by Queen and T-Rex, amongst others.
Baby Driver is also made great by its witty one-liners delivered by a star- studded supporting cast of criminals. There’s the ex-Wall Street financier (Jon Hamm), the fur-clad bubble-gum-chewing princess (Eiza González) and the career criminal (Jamie Foxx). Lily James plays sweet waitress Debora, who happens to work at the same diner Baby’s mother used to work, who one day bursts into his life literally singing his name. They instantly bond over the fact that they both love music and both have experience of caring for others. Their relationship, as well as Baby’s emotional backstory explored through brief flashbacks and close-ups of a tape that says “MOM” on it and his relationship with his deaf foster father, gives the film its tender touch.
The tone of the film is well balanced – there is the right amount of action, comedy and tenderness. The opening car-chase sequence is amazing and the third and final act will have you on the edge of your seat. On a side note: who doesn’t walk around the streets listening to their music through headphones and doesn’t imagine themselves dancing along the pavement like Baby does? I do. Baby Driver is, by far, the best film of the year so far. It’s a “yes” from me. Verdict: 5 stars (because I can’t score it higher).
If you haven’t been to see it yet, you should. Here is the trailer.