Movie Review: ‘BABY DRIVER’ (2017) – Edgar Wright’s Magnum Opus To Epic Storytelling
Edgar Wright is considered one of the more innovative directors working in the industry. Having broken out into the scene with ‘Shaun Of The Dead’, Wright has gone on to make a name for himself with unconventional storytelling, unique subject matter and a quirky directing style. So it’s not totally surprising that his latest project, ‘Baby Driver’, is one of the best movies of this year.
‘Baby Driver’ is Edgar Wright’s magnum opus to epic storytelling.
Download the Official Soundtrack for ‘Baby Driver’ on iTunes
Wright’s movies thus far have proven to be hugely popular with a niche audience. Wright has a very particular style of filmmaking that is a culmination of his own experiences as a film lover, and it shows in every project he does. ‘Baby Driver’ however, is the graduation of Wright into more high concept filmmaking where his inherent style takes a back seat to a film that showcases his ability to remain behind the work instead of letting himself become a part of it.
‘Baby Driver’ is a heist film featuring a young getaway driver with a unique ear condition from an accident, that requires him to constantly be listening to music to drown out the humming. Simply known as Baby, (Ansel Elgort) the driver works for local crime lord Doc (Kevin Spacey) who uses him in every heist he pulls. The events of the story see Baby getting caught up in one particular heist, from which there may be no coming back.
‘Baby Driver’ is a delightfully enjoyable movie that is a treat for every one of your senses. The soundtrack of the movie is an auxiliary character, given Baby’s dependence and reliance, on music of all genres from all eras, as they get him through life. Very rarely has a movie been so ingrained with its own soundtrack. Wright’s use of the visual juxtaposed with the auditory is so unique that one wonders why it’s never been this obviously noticeable in any other film prior to this. Cinematographer Bill Pope’s visual are completely synchronized with the soundtrack, and lends a lot of heart to the story. While Pope shoots fast and hard during the action sequences, he slows the camera down for the more romantic scenes between Elgort and his love interest, Deborah. (Lily James)
The story is an incredible, nail biting adventure that incorporates the best elements of every trope of a heist film. Lowlife badasses with no loyalty together with a skilled, yet pure of heart kid, capable of high speed car chases and shoot outs, is what gets the heart racing. While most other Wright films have been pure homages to other genres of film, ‘Baby Driver’ is his original take on all those influences by creating something new that isn’t a direct tribute, but completely his own.
Almost every aspect of ‘Baby Driver’ is top notch. I was initially concerned about the screen time given to each actor with such an ensemble cast. But Wright manages to allow every actor a moment to shine and everyone has a role worthy of being included in the story. Jon Hamm is the stand out (finally!) in a role that blurs the line between friend and foe. Jamie Foxx, as usual, makes himself the loudest one in the cast, and he’s great at it. Jon Bernthal does his patented aggro renegade act in this one as well. Kevin Spacey looks to do something a bit different than his ‘House Of Cards’ ruthless-ness, as a measured and calculated gangster.
The surprise here though is definitely Elgort. The young actor, only known for his breakout performance in ‘The Fault In Our Stars’, proves that he is here to stay. Elgort gives a performance that more or less carries the film, despite the company of veteran performers sharing the screen with him. A lot of Elgort’s performance is when he’s alone on screen, and he is able to win you over with a quiet charm, with very few words, but completely with his on screen presence.
His scenes with another stand out performer in Lily James, (‘Cinderella’) add great romantic sub plot to the story. The two share great chemistry, and James is a treat to watch. The story takes a great left turn into typical 1960’s romance, with most of their interactions set in an old-school diner, with a love that’s very much referential to the live-fast-die-young tropes of Hollywood in that era.
‘Baby Driver’ doesn’t look like the typical Edgar Wright movie, in the best possible way. The movie stands on its own as an independent film with a great story, amazing performances by an unexpected cast and innovative direction. This is Wright breaking out of the niche films he’s become associated with to do a new brand of storytelling that is invigorating and exciting as hell. Here hoping that the film catapults Wright into the A-List of Hollywood, where he still manages to put together cool and slick films such as ‘Baby Driver’.