Baby Driver is the latest offering from Edgar Wright, the man who brought us films like Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End. Wright is one of the most exhilarating and out of the box directors as far as action films are concerned and if you already don’t know that, then all you need to do is watch any of his films to understand exactly what I mean. All his previous films were highly entertaining and they all had a wicked sense of humor associated with them. If you look at his filmography each of his films are of a different genre. Shaun of the Dead was a zombie apocalypse film, Hot Fuzz a cop thriller and The World’s End a semi-horror sci-fi film. Baby Driver is a heist film with a dash of music.
Baby is a getaway driver who had a serious accident when he was a kid and has since then left a humm in his ears. He listens to music all the time in order to drain that humm. He mostly reads lips to understand what he is being told. He works for a boss who is holding him for a ransom. He has one last job to finish and then he will be on his own. It is at this juncture that he meets Debora (Lily James) and falls head over heels in love with her. This relation complicates Baby’s life further and forces him to take some tough decisions.
I just loved this film. Baby Driver is one of the most imaginative and well made action films of the year. We have seen chase sequences of varied types from the superhero stuff of the Fast and Furious to the increasingly brutal action of the Death Race series to the clean and beautiful chase sequences of Gone in 60 Seconds. But Baby Driver brings something spectacularly fresh and out of the box to the scene. I cannot say that I haven’t seen chase sequences like the ones they show here before but there is something so fresh about how they are executed and scored that it felt almost like watching something that I had never seen before.
Like all Edgar Wright films, Baby Driver is beautifully shot. Leaving aside the action sequences which are breathtaking, even the regular scenes like the ones where they are planning the heist and the ones in which Baby is wooing Deborah are captivatingly beautiful. The scenes where Baby and Deborah are shown hanging out are shot mostly in the diner and once in a laundry and yet somehow the director and the DOP are able to add a dreamy sheen and look and feel to these scenes. There is also a pretty long tracking shot in the beginning wherein Baby makes his way to their hideout which I felt was very well done. The editing is crisp and to the point.
Speaking of the performances, Ansel Elgort does exceedingly well. I loved his act. There is such simplicity to his performance that you cannot help but fall in love with his act. There have been many who didn’t like the romantic angle between him and Lily James and called their love story the weak link in the film. I beg to differ. I felt that their love story, which hinges on their mutual love for music and an undeniable chemistry, is as sweet as a freshly cooked “rosogolla”. One has to look at it from the perspective of the teenage minds and how it works. That’s how sudden love can happen and last forever. Lily James does her part in this story perfect and leaves no room for any complaints.
The rest of the cast is just as good. Kevin Spacey is Kevin Spacey. Here is a man who can talk and talk and one could still listen without getting bored. It’s interesting to note how organic his act is as he transforms from someone who forces Baby into the horrific life that he is a part off to someone who saves him. On the other hand, Jon Hamm starts off as one of the only guys who likes Baby and understands his predicament. He is thoughtful and sweet to him throughout but in the end something happens that makes him vie for Baby’s blood and turns him into the principal baddy. This character arc is achieved in a manner that is highly believable and hence is effective. Jamie Foxx is great as ever. Here he is as hateful as he is annoying. There were times when I just wanted to kill him. That’s the kind of emotions that his character is able to extract and that is his greatest achievement in this film. Jon Bernthal as Griff could have been given a longer role.
Baby Driver will add to Edgar Wright’s long list of good and successful films. This is a type of film that he hasn’t tried before and hence will only add to the charm. I couldn’t find any problem with this film apart from the fact that its plot is pretty generic and we have seen films of this type a zillion times before. But what the film lacks in novelty, it more than makes up for in execution, performances and action. Baby Driver is a thrilling watch that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible. It is the kind of film that you can watch multiple times and still find reasons to watch yet again.
Rating: 4/5 (4 Out of 5 Stars)