We’ve been excited to see Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver since the amazing initial trailer and the news that it had a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film successfully lives up to its hype and is easily one of the most entertaining experiences you can expect to have in a cinema this year.
The main thing that leaps out upon watching Baby Driver is that this is one of the most well constructed movies we’ve seen recently. Wright has always been a talented visual film maker and Baby Driver is all of his best habits cranked up to 11. The attention to detail is insane and there’s something incredibly kinetic to the way Wright shoots the film, constantly keeping things moving and exciting to look at. Even the quieter moments have character to them, allowing us breathers in between the spectacular set-pieces but never really stopping.
Along with the visual side, the music is a key part of the film’s identity and its creatively stylish marriage of sight and sound is one of the most interesting things about it. It’s rare to see a film where the music is not just complimentary to everything that happens on-screen, but enhances it so much. It also gives the audience an immediate and strong connection to the titular Baby through his own love of the music, also giving us one of the most charming character introductions of the year.
It’s been said that a feature length script should feature something big happening every twenty minutes in order to keep the audience hooked, but Baby Driver has stuff happening the whole damn time. The whole finale is absolutely insane and one of the most breathtaking rides that cinema can offer. Pretty sure my heart was pounding for the whole last half hour. Baby Driver‘s world comes apart in the most entertaining way, all the various pieces coming together into an avalanche of thrills.
The film is filled with some terrific performances, as you’d expect from a cast with Oscar winners like Kevin Spacey and Jaime Foxx. Both are unsurprisingly excellent, but the real stand-outs are the forever-charming Jon Hamm and protagonist Ansel Elgort. The Fault in Our Stars star is incredibly endearing Baby and provides the character with much more depth than initial impressions might imply. He’s easy to root for amongst all the chaos that unfolds around him. Baby Driver isn’t just Ocean’s 11 with cars and Wright doesn’t hesitate to remind us that as utterly cool and stylish as the action is, what the characters do is definitely not okay. Not everyone ends up where you’d expect them to.
The one complaint I’d make against the film is the treatment of its female characters, of which they are few to begin with. Darling (Eliza González) doesn’t have much character to speak of beyond being the sexy, dangerous girlfriend of Hamm’s Buddy, with nothing that really makes her stand-out amongst the gang. Lily James makes waitress Debora extremely likeable and her chemistry with Elgort makes their scenes together spark, but she doesn’t really exist beyond “love interest” and her story is merely an extension of what happens to Baby.
But that’s only a minor complaint in the face of what is otherwise an exhilarating film. The cinematography in this film alone is worth the price of admission, with some truly fantastic set-pieces. Thankfully though, the movie is more than just empty calories and the story is easy to get swept along in. After brewing in Edgar Wright’s head since 1994, it’s great to see it finally realized.
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