“He had an accident when he was a kid. Still has a hum in the drum. Plays music to drown it out. And that’s what makes him the best.”
‘Baby Driver’, directed by Edgar Wright in 2017, is an American crime comedy drama. Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a young man whose parents were killed years before in a car crash that left him with tinnitus. Baby falls in with the underworld of Atlanta and is forced to become a getaway driver for an ever-changing team of criminals lead by Doc, played by Kevin Spacey. Baby comes close to paying off a debt to Doc when he meets and falls for a waitress called Debora, played by Lily James. Threatened by Doc, Baby is recruited for one last job, but he is torn by his concern for his new girlfriend and his continuing discomfort with the violence of the criminals around him. It’s a kinetic, almost balletic movie. To combat his tinnitus, Baby uses music, so all his actions are tied to the movie soundtrack. This gives the film a texture beyond a standard action movie, and makes the car and foot chases incredibly slick and stylish. The film is book-ended by a staggeringly good opening car chase and an equally accomplished foot chase, but it is Wright’s script and the eccentrically drawn characters that keep you watching. Baby is possibly the least outlandish character in the film, around him Kevin Spacey, John Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Eiza González give heightened performances that only work when matched with Wright’s distinctive editing and dialogue. Wright has obviously also sacrificed a hefty chunk of the budget to get soundtrack, but his method of writing the script knowing which individual tracks would be chosen really pays off. It’s one of the most consistent and enjoyable action films in a long time, and demonstrates the director’s ability to move beyond the action pastiche he used in the brilliant ‘Hot Fuzz’ and into more dramatic territory.
Would I recommend it? Yes – it’s a great, well-crafted action movie with enjoyable performances and astounding car chases. Watch in a double bill with ‘Two-Lane Blacktop’ – although Wright homages most car movies from the 1960s onwards.