The last Edgar Wright film we saw was The World’s End, which was in 2013. Wright was originally going to direct Marvel’s Ant-Man but left after both him and the studio were having trouble agreeing on how that film would turn out. So it’s been four years since we’ve seen a Wright film. Fortunately, Baby Driver shows Wright is still on point when it comes to filmmaking.
Similar to Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Baby Driver also focuses on music except whereas the characters would burst into a musical and use that music to fight, Baby Driver uses the music as an essential element to help move the motivation and action seamlessly.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a talented driver who helps Doc (Kevin Spacey) rob banks by being the escapist and getting away from police chases. Baby is constantly listening to music to drain out the tinnitus in his ears from when he got into a car accident as a child and lost both parents. Baby falls in love with a waitress named Debora (Lily James) and when he thinks he’s done for good working for Doc, he gets pulled back in to do another job involving Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eliza Gonzalez), and Bats (Jamie Foxx).
The biggest thing that could have been a hit or miss is the music itself. What seems like a gimmick could get old quickly. Some directors could figure out a way to use the music creatively, James Gunn blends the music pretty well in both Guardians of the Galaxy films, but not many people (or nobody until Wright) choreographs the action with the music beats.
It’s a huge strength and challenge for Wright to do this. All of his films have those quick cuts that flow well together, but doing that along with any song is impressive. It’s not even just action, the dialogue and character movements also flow with the music. It’s Wright’s most articulate yet also arguably his best edited film.
The soundtrack isn’t what to expect. Weeks before the film was released, a single titled Chase Me by Dangermouse (featuring Run the Jewels and Big Boi) came out leading me to expect the soundtrack to be full of hip hop bangers. Though there is a Run the Jewels song played in the movie, it’s not used during a chase scene. Still, the soundtrack is full of songs that some people might not know or not expect to be in any movie. Yet the soundtrack is still full of songs that are fun to listen to. It’s most likely you’ll end up buying the soundtrack right after you see it.
Unfortunately, Baby Driver lacks the emotional impact that can be expected from any other Wright film. Films such as Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End both factor in on heavy decisions and consequences while showing what to value in your own life. In this film, it seems like Baby sees Debora as goal, even though he is clearly in love with her. If there was more screen time between both characters then maybe this could have been resolved a little bit better.
I’ve never seen a movie featuring Elgort, who hasn’t done a whole lot. His most memorable role for some is Gus from The Fault In Our Stars, which seemed more like the perfect dream boy than a real person. In Baby Driver, Elgort plays a character who has a great amount of confidence and desperation. Elgort works well with the talented cast, who give off a great presence of terror. Foxx is a standout in this because he’s unpredictable throughout the movie.
Without a doubt, Baby Driver is one of the year’s and Wright’s most extraordinary film. It’s a great introduction for those who are wanting to see a Wright film, but it’s also pleasing for those who are already big fans and can see his influences from his previous works, even though the film doesn’t get as emotional as it could have. Yet it’s still so fun to root for Baby and scream “Hell yeah!” through the entire movie. It’s easily a safe bet to say this might be the only movie this year that will give you an adrenaline rush from start to finish.