Just like with Quentin Tarantino, every new movie by Edgar Wright is a special occasion: he takes 3-4 years to develop his projects, pouring a lot of time into adding easter eggs, foreshadowing, and little details that make each viewing unique. Of all his movies, Baby Driver is probably the most accessible one, and that is far from a bad thing.
Baby Driver stars Ansel Elgort as Baby, getaway driver with tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears). He has to do one last job to repay his debt with Doc (Kevin Spacey), helping the criminals Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza González), and Bats (Jamie Foxx). Meanwhile, he is also developing a romance with the waitress Debora (Lily James), with whom he shares a deep love for music. The premise itself has been seen a thousand times before: the “one last job”, getting away from the life of crime, love and emotions ruining a perfect streak of successes… You have seen it all before.
However, what sets the movie apart from most other heist movies are its characters, who are all fun to watch and interesting. Baby has a stone-cold persona whenever he is around criminals, using music as a means to escape from that world of violence, distancing himself from the crimes that he is helping commit, only to show his kind-hearted and charismatic nature when he is with his foster dad and with Debora. Debora herself is the most simple character of the movie, but her romance with Baby is quite believable: we are always trying to find a connection with other people, and music is what makes Baby and Debora fall in love with one another. The gang of criminals is quite varied and they all deliver wonderful performances: Kevin Spacey gives his usual “calm and menacing” performance with some really funny moments here and there; Jon Hamm is charming as always, and he has the best arc out of every character in the movie, making me fall in love with his character; Eiza González is sexy and deadly, and her chemistry with Hamm is off the roof; Jon Bernthal is excellent in the 5 minutes that he is on screen; and Jamie Foxx steals every scene he is in, playing an insane and dangerous criminal that you love to hate.
As a big fan of gimmicky movies (Boyhood being filmed over the course of twelve years, Birdman filmed to look like one long take), the main gimmick of Baby Driver has to be the best one I have ever experienced: most of the movie is edited and shot in such a way that the action on screen syncs with the music that is almost constantly playing through Baby’s earbuds. Edgar Wright has always played with this aspect (think of the Don’t Stop Me Now scene from Shaun of the Dead, or the Matthew Patel fight in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), but here he creates a true action musical: you only need to watch the wonderful TeKillYah trailer to know what you are in for. Watching a shootout in which every bullet follows the beat of Button Down Brass’ Tequila, or the phenomenal opening scene with Jon Spencer’s Bellbottoms are just two of the many standout sequences of the movie.
The cinematography is fantastic, with every dialogue scene wonderfully framed (love the Baby-Debora phone call) and every action setpiece filmed with vibrant energy and with plenty of closeups, never confusing the audience on what is happening. That is also thanks to the wonderful job that the stunt drivers did, and the director’s efforts in using as little CGI as possible. Every scene feels real, every sound fits perfectly and enhances the moments, and the visual-audio editing is so on point that I find it hard to believe some people are not enjoying this.
Overall, Baby Driver is one of those movies that makes you love cinema, and hate mediocre movies. The movie is a blast from start to finish, moved by a killer soundtrack, wonderful performances, excellent direction, and superb technical aspects. One of the most enjoyable movies I have seen in a long time, so full of good intentions and love for the craft of filmmaking. It just dethroned John Wick: Chapter 2 as my favorite movie of the year, and I cannot wait to watch it again, and again, and again. That’s some Oscar shit, right there!
Visual Effects: 9
Violence & Gore: 8
Sex & Nudity: 2
Drugs & Profanity: 7
Intensity & Horror: 7