***** out of 5
Rated R for violence and language throughout
Article first published at TheReelPlace.com
It may not mean as much to some, but I pride myself on being an Edgar Wright fan before it was cool. While Shaun of the Dead may have put him in the public eye here across the pond, it was Spaced I discovered first. With each film better the last — maybe not quite so much when comparing Scott Pilgrim vs the World and The World’s End (Scott Pilgrim is by far better) — it comes as no surprise to find Baby Driver being his best yet. Working without the aide of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, or Jessica Hynes, Baby Driver is all Wright, and I was interested to see how he could possibly top his previous films.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) works for kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey) as a getaway driver. Doc never uses the same crew twice so he’s constantly mixing with a different array of criminals. In the opening scene, Baby’s driving for Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza González), and Griff (Jon Bernthal). Griff doesn’t trust Baby since he’s only being used as a driver. But Doc knows Baby is the best there is, even if he’s reliant on earbuds, eclectic music, and sunglasses. Baby works for Doc paying off a debt after Doc caught him stealing from him, but Baby wants out so he can drive away and be with local diner waitress Debora (Lily James). While Baby may be thinking he can escape, Doc makes sure he knows he’s never out, pitting him against both the hot headed Bats (Jamie Foxx) and Debora’s safety after a heist goes awry.
Baby Driver is not only Wright’s best film so far, but one of the year’s best films as well. Full of his trademark wit and style, he never puts style over substance. His script is chock full of verbal wordplay, loveable characters, and incredible action. The opening car chase and a late-in-the-game foot chase are jaw dropping. And it’s all set to the year’s best soundtrack. Wright has finally been set free by Sony and he’s giving Quentin Tarantino a true run for his money. It doesn’t hurt that Baby Driver feels like the funniest film Tarantino hasn’t made yet, but I can only imagine what could happen if the two got together — not counting Wright’s faux trailer Don’t! featured in Grindhouse — but I would die to see the end results.
Baby Driver is one of those films that deserves all the praise. I am dying to see this one again and hopefully it can see a bigger audience than just Wright fanboys; myself included. Summer films don’t get much better than Baby Driver. It demands to be seen in the loudest theater possible to fully allow the intoxicating use of music to wash over you. It’s also the kind of action film that screams “watch me in a theater dammit!” and you’d be a fool to let this one pass you by. Between Shaun, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim, and The World’s End, I was never worried Scott Pilgrim would be as good as it got for Wright. But now, he has single handedly proven that he’s every bit as good playing in the movie sandbox all by himself — if not better. Baby Driver is full octane entertainment that cannot be missed.