Baby Driver is the hugely anticipated latest film from writer/ director Edgar Wright, the man famous for putting Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in world ending scenarios for ITV2.
The film feels like a huge departure from his previous mainstream work and although he’s obviously a highly accomplished writer/ director, this almost feels like a coming of age film for him. It feels like a proper grown-up film. While I love the Cornetto trilogy because, well, they’re great films; they feel almost like Wright is just making films with his mates for a few laughs with a few quid he got after his grandma died. And that’s fantastic, I’m not trying to diminish those films in anyway but Baby Driver is on a totally different level.
Baby Driver is an absolute masterpiece.
The film stars Ansel Elgort, also known as the chap who should have been cast as the young Han Solo, if they insist on making that film, which they shouldn’t. He plays Baby, a young guy who’s really good at driving really fast. Think your best escape from a five-star wanted level on GTA good. He works for Doc (Kevin Spacey), who’s a kingpin sort of character who arranges jobs using various crew members including Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza González), Griff (Jon Bernthal) and Bats (Jaime Foxx). Lily James plays Debora, a waitress Baby meets and quickly falls for. It’s the relationship between Baby and Debora that steers the story, as they both attempt to escape their lives. There’s a tenderness and a charm about their relationship that’s nestled in the core of the film.
Baby Driver is a triumph in style and charisma with a soundtrack made up of songs that would all pass a Tom Haverford “Is it a banger?” test which is masterfully worked into the script. It’s over the top and hilarious with moments that almost break the fourth wall and yet the tension, the action, and the drama all feel so real. This is thanks to some stunning stunt and camera work; the car chases are all phenomenal and the danger feels real. Mainly because it is. Move over Vin Diesel, this is how you make a film about cars going really fast.
Unlike the Fast and Furious franchise, Baby Driver isn’t just a tyre-squealing, full throttle thrill ride. It’s so much more. There’s so much substance and character work going on under the surface of this heist film. Baby as our protagonist is at heart a good person who’s got in with the wrong crowd. But this doesn’t mean he gets away scot free. He does bad things; he breaks the law; he puts lives at risk and Wright doesn’t shy away from putting him through the wringer for his sins. In this respect it almost has a Breaking Bad-esque feel. Our protagonist descends into a world he doesn’t belong in and we never feel like he’s safe. The risk feels real throughout the entire film, which makes it so much more compelling than your standard romp. He’s a complicated character with responsibilities he shouldn’t have and guilt for what he’s had to do to survive.
Doc’s crew is full of horrible people who do horrible things and each of them add a great deal to the film. They’re multi-layered characters each with distinct motives and character arcs. What’s brilliant is that they’re not given sympathetic backstories or redemption arcs to appease audiences or studio heads à la Suicide Squad or even, dare I say, Fast and Furious. They are proper bad guys. Hamm, González, Foxx and Spacey are great to watch because Wright has embraced their bad behaviours and not tried to glorify their misdemeanours.
Baby Driver is Edgar Wright’s best film to date and, like I mentioned earlier, that’s no mean feat. It’s compelling and thrilling and charming and stylish and sophisticated with a romance at its core. I bet ITV can’t wait to get the rights to this one.
Baby Driver is an instant classic. A banging soundtrack, thrilling car chases and interesting, compelling characters make Baby Driver the film to look out for this summer.