Baby Driver Review
By Rich Cline
Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in the style of a colourful movie musical, but with the songs playing in the background. Everything is choreographed to the tunes, as the cars veer across the road dodging bullets fired in sync to the rhythm. It’s pure candy for the eyes and ears, impeccably staged by writer-director Edgar Wright. And we don’t mind much that there’s not much more to it than that.
The title refers to Baby (Ansel Elgort), a young man who doesn’t talk much. Hiding behind sunglasses and earbuds, he’s an expert driver raised by his deaf foster dad (C.J. Jones) after his parents died in, yes, a car crash. He’s also in debt to Doc (Kevin Spacey) a criminal mastermind who orchestrates elaborate heists with a variety of low-life goons, all with Baby at the wheel. And things are looking up for Baby when he falls for diner waitress Debora (Lily James) just as he pays off his debt to Doc. But first he has to do one last job, working this time with the loved-up Buddy and Darling (Jon Hamm and Eliza Gonzalez) and the unpredictable, trigger-happy Bats (Jamie Foxx).
Scenes play to the beat of the songs on Baby’s iPod, and Wright adds clever touches everywhere. Shooting in long takes with elaborately planned-out mayhem, the film ricochets from one sequence to the next, looking seriously stylish every step of the way. It quickly becomes clear that even the super-efficient Baby is soon going to be in over his head, which helps us root for him as the carnage escalates. The likeable Elgort has a lot of fun with the role, enjoying Baby’s wordless swagger while including a touch of emotion here and there. No one else gets a chance to add much depth to his or her role, but at least Foxx gets to steal his scenes simply because no one has a clue what he might do next.
Wright assembles this with breathtaking skill, which makes the action scenes exhilarating. It’s such a fresh approach to both the musical and action genres that it can’t help but catch the audience’s imagination. Every moment is so expertly shot, edited, scored and sound-mixed that we don’t mind much that the plot is so thin, or that the characters kind of feel less important than the clever movie trickery. Indeed, it’s so much fun that it leaves us wanting a sequel.
Facts and Figures
Production compaines: Big Talk Productions, Media Rights Capital, Working Title Films, Double Negative, TriStar Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Cast & Crew
Starring: Ansel Elgort as Baby, Kevin Spacey as Doc, Eiza González as Darling, Jon Bernthal as Griff, Lily James as Deborah, Jon Hamm as Buddy, Jamie Foxx as Bats, Jeff Chase as Jeffrey, Wilbur Fitzgerald as Judge, Brigitte Kali Canales as Young Mother, Lanny Joon as J.D., Andy McDermott as Officer Forster, Ben VanderMey as Frat Boy, Erica Frene as Dog Lady, Brogan Hall as Sam, Shellita Boxie as Bank Patron, Patrick R. Walker as Frat Boy, Allison King as Nice Lady Teller, Lance Palmer as Lady’s Dad, Keith Hudson as Overweight Cop, Hudson Meek as Young Baby, Ronald Joe Vasquez as Pedestrian (uncredited), Troy Faruk as Goon #5, Danny Le Boyer as Tequila Goon 3, Marshall Choka as Angry Man on Cellphone, Mason Pike as Pedestrian (uncredited), R. Marcos Taylor as Armie, Thurman Sewell as Hellcat Thug 2, Mark Smith as Prisoner, Duke Jackson as Monroe County, CJ Jones as Joseph, Trey McGriff as Homeless Man on Bench, Elijah Everett as Security Guard, Sidney Sewell as Hellcat Thug 1, David Conk as Tequila Goon 4, Hal Whiteside as Cook, Juliette Sicard as Student Pedestrian, D.R. Lewis as Waiter, Marvin E. West as State Trooper, Connie Lee as Upset Car Driver, James Blackshear as Music Store Clerk, Chad Joyce as Prisoner, Christopher Beanland as Bullhorn Cop, Marisol Correa as Atlanta Cop (uncredited), Elizabeth Davidovich as Monroe County (uncredited), Colin Lacativa as Construction Worker (uncredited), Ryan Newton as Driver / Pedestrian (uncredited), Donald K. Overstreet as Man in Blue Truck (uncredited), Walter Hill as Courtroom interpreter