Baby Driver  is the latest film from the one and only Edgar Wright. Alongside screeching tires and a squealing soundtrack, the film boasts a stellar cast that includes Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Eiza González, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Spacey.
Mozart in a Go-Cart. While plenty of laughs come throughout this is Wright’s first time writing and directing something that isn’t purely a comedy and/or genre sendup. This is a straight action/heist, but with a musical twist. The twist being the music is the main character that not only drives Baby but also literally drives the flow of the film. If the audience hears music it’s because Baby hears the music. If one earbud is removed the audience’s audio changes with it. If Baby isn’t listening to music, well then neither are we. What Wright does so expertly though is how the music synchronizes with the editing and actions of shots and characters. While the music we hear is being heard because Baby’s rocking his iPod, the music also exists outside of the scene and matches the diegetic sounds within. Gunshots, door slams, footsteps, etc. hit with the beat of the song playing. Some of it is subtle enough to miss, but when you notice it your head is sure to start bobbing and you’ll realize you’ve got a smile slathered across your face.
“Is he retarded?” - “Retarded means slow. Was he slow?” The action and chase sequences are all stylish and expertly filmed. Wright knows how to block a scene and edit things together like no other. You won’t necessarily see the typical flair that his previous films have though, as this production feels much more restrained so that the style doesn’t come from the way scenes are visually portrayed but how they actually play out. That’s not to say that the climactic moments of the film don’t go to Edgar Wright Level 11, I think I was just expecting that level more consistently throughout like his previous endeavors. What might be lacking in consistently badass scene transitions is wholly made up for in the overall sound editing as mentioned above. That is what the film is really about, and that’s where Wright’s attention to detail shines. (Also notice the graffiti during that first coffee run scene. Oh Edgar, you clever bastard.)
“Thanks to an insider with a nasal problem.” The whole cast does a great job overall, and while no one is going to win any awards for their portrayals, the characters are all fun and work well within the context of the story. I understand the complaint that Debora and Baby’s relationship comes quick and her willingness to go to the ends of the earth with him seems rushed. However, this is a film sans fluff and Wright knows we don’t need to watch a full courtship to establish this couple for the rest of the story. These two fall in love, it raises the steaks, now let’s move on. I didn’t quite fill the lull that others did at the midway point (where the relationship establishing begins) but my biggest complaint would be with the last 5 or so minutes of the film. The moment any other filmmaker would have rolled credits continues on to deliver what is ultimately a more honest dealing of the consequences of the story. It just doesn’t really add anything to the overall story and does actually kill any momentum from the awesome climax.
“Find something funky on there. We got to rip this joint up.” Ultimately the technical aspects of this film are exquisite, as one would expect. The writing is solid and fun, as are the characters and sequences. I have a strong feeling that any issues that anyone has with the film are really coming from their own internal expectations and desires, especially when comparing to Wright’s filmography. Otherwise as a thing by itself, Baby Driver is unique, stylish, and creative filmmaking that embodies pure joy.