Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, John Bernthal, Flea, Big Boi, Killer Mike
Rated: R (violence and language throughout)
After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
By Cole Schneider
“Baby Driver” is the most fun I’ve had at the theater in a long time. The heist-gone-wrong movie wears its influences on its sleeve. Director Edgar Wright is clearly a genre-fanboy and Baby Driver could read a bit like an ode to “Breathless”, “Bonnie and Clyde”, “Goodfellas”, anything Coen brothers, and anything Tarantino except Wright is himself such a singular voice and the film is really a romantic comedy trapped inside an action-crime film.
The titular Baby has tennitus giving him a permanent hum-in-the-drum, which he combats by listening to music 24-7. This device gives the movie a rhythm and mood all to itself. The music provides a platform to explore some unique cinematic humor and a cast of characters that are just really effing cool.
As Baby drives criminals to and from theft sites he falls for Debora, a girl with a similar love for music and a life seemingly as difficult and empty as his. Alongside Debora, Baby is able to traverse weighty emotional and social themes ultimately finding peace by forsaking everything that seemed to define him and his movie. “Baby Driver” is summer escapism about the dangers of escapism, but don’t mistake it for a traditional ‘message’ movie. It’s too much fun for that.
“Baby Driver” is the best film I’ve seen this year and it’s not even close. It’s the most cinematically entertaining and the most cogent argument, and also has the breeziest heart. I hope I’m wrong, obviously, but I doubt this summer will offer us anything better.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
By Matt Greene
Earlier this year, the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel dropped, and along with it another “Awesome Mix” soundtrack of 70s classics. Regardless of how you felt about that movie or soundtrack (which I liked), there is little doubt that Baby Driver will effectively side-swipe it.
You may be wondering why I’m starting a FILM review by talking about the music. That’s because Wright (Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim) has essentially made the greatest narrative music video ever made in this precisely edited and incredibly shot homage to MTV and 70s exploitation. Filled with old iPods, random sing-alongs and musically rhythmic gunfights, it’s the coolest thing this side of Tarantino, with Wright’s brainy charms seeping from every pore.
Elgort plays Baby, a criminal getaway driver with otherworldly abilities behind the wheel. However, Baby has a consistent humming in his ear, and he uses (very specific) songs to drown out the noise and soundtrack his life. Because we spend basically every minute with him, the movie eschews the actual action in favor of patient tension through Baby’s seemingly endless playlist of left-of-the-dial bangers. It’s brilliant and effective and just-plain-fun. When we do get action, it’s some of the most balls-to-the-wall packed goodness since Fury Road, with a climax that is breathtakingly intense.
It’s a crying shame this won’t be seen as widely as other inferior car / action movies from this year (Cars, Furious), as it’s as undoubtedly better, while also as widely entertaining. So do yourself a favor: find a big screen with a killer sound system, and enjoy this high-speed, sports-car-cool gem that will prove to be one of the best pure movie-going experiences you’ll have all year.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars