Edgar Wright’s new action-comedy Baby Driver might not be a perfect film, but it certainly comes close to being one. The film follows the story of Baby (Ansel Elgort), a reluctant and extremely talented getaway driver who listens to music at all times due in part to ear damage imparted during a car accident when he was a child. He embarks on quest to leave the crime business and along the way, develops a romance with a young, sweet waitress named Deborah (Lily James), whom he tries to protect from the life he’s lead thus far.
There is little that is particularly shocking or revolutionary about the plot of the film, it is, at it’s very core, a simple story, with echoes from action comedies and romantic films of the past. It is this very simplicity, however, which allows for every embellishment to shine so beautifully. Every action, every line of understated dialogue, every pause serves it’s purpose in a film which is built like a choreography. Entire scenes are built, guided and informed by Baby’s music, where every word, sound, action and camera movement is in accordance with the song playing. As such, the film itself becomes a choreography playing in visual details – the filmic equivalent of a modern ballet, with jokes and car chases. What more could you ask for?
To individuals familiar with Edgar Wright’s past works (Spaced, The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, Scott Pilgrim vs The World) the extremely stylized nature of the film will come as no surprise, and the fast-pace editing style will feel instantly familiar. Nevertheless, the choreographic essence of the film becomes especially impressive considering the amount of long takes within the film, as well as the fact that every single apparent throwaway line – in song or otherwise – comes back into play at a later time. With Baby Driver, Edgar Wright utilizes a simple, straightforward storyline to hone his craft. The writing is as clever and nuanced as one would expect from Wright, but it would not be bold to suggest that it is his best work yet.
Jamie Foxx was perhaps miscast as Bats, and delivered a performance which was at times imperfect due to his not being quite threatening enough to be believable within his lines, the detail hardly distracts from the experience. It might not have been noticeable at all, were he not surrounded by near perfect performances all-around from everyone else, and especially from Ansel Elgort and Jon Hamm. And this is exactly what makes this movie such a thrilling experience: one has to search for flaws by hunting the details of the film which do not inspire such awe.
Edgar Wright continues on his winning streak of films which are only increasing in beauty, skill, and enjoyability.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Written By: June Rossaert (https://soullesscritic.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/baby-driver/)