Edgar Wright Finally Brings His Baby To The Big Screen & We Thank Him For It
There are few filmmakers who knock it out of the park with every film. Edgar Wright is one of them and his latest film, Baby Driver, just might be his best film yet. With an amazing cast that gives some of the best performances of their career and seamlessly blending the genres of musicals and car chase action movies, Wright will have a hard time following up this act.
On paper, Baby Driver sounds like your typical heist getaway driver story. Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a driver for Kevin Spacey’s crime lord Doc. Doc calls and Baby drives. Doc’s crew, consisting of Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal and Eiza Gonzalez, conduct the heists and Baby gets them out of trouble when all hell breaks lose. When Baby meets Debora (Lily James) and falls in love, all he wants is out of the crime business and into her arms. However, it’s never that easy to walk away from a life of crime. Sure that sounds like your generic leaving life of crime for love story, but this is Edgar Wright we are talking about.
After as string of young adult films, Elgort finally gets to play a mature action star. Wright pulls a great performance out of the charming young actor, even with minimal dialogue. Baby has gotten himself into trouble and owes a debt to Doc. Good thing he’s an unbelievable driver and makes himself irreplaceable. Baby has a constant ringing in his ears, so he spends most of his life listening to music on his iPod to drown out the hum. A man of few words with a love for music, Elgort doesn’t need to sing to give the audience a “Singing in the Rain” kind of vibe.
As the object of Baby’s affection, Lily James is dazzling. While her character is perhaps the weakest developed member of the cast, her sparkling eyes make up for it. Wright is able to turn a pretty flat character into what feels like a princess out of a fantasy story. James may have played Cinderella in the past, but this character feels more fantastic. However, the weakest part of the film may be the love story aspect. As the two love struck small timers fall for each other, the dialogue leaves much to desire. Furthermore, Elgort’s performance almost breaks as the quiet criminal tries to play a little hard to get in order to protect Debora. Thankfully, the love story is simple and lets us get right back into the action after establishing that these two are soulmates.
At the heart of this film is a commanding performance by Kevin Spacey. Sure, some might say Spacey plays the same character in pretty much every film, but he does it well. However, Doc might surprise a few people. As the crime boss and the brains behind the heists, Spacey spends most of the film drawing up plays for his team to execute like a football coach, chalkboard and all. Yet, Spacey’s best moment in the film is when he gets his hands dirty. Wright gives the actor plenty of opportunities to be menacing, funny, and caring throughout his various scenes.
Jon Hamm’s Buddy is no Don Draper and I mean that in a good way. Buddy is one of the few criminals that grows sympathetic and cordial to Baby, who usually keeps to himself. The scenes with Hamm and Elgort interacting and sharing musical tastes make for some great chummy moments. However, Hamm really gets to shine as a bad ass heisting criminal during the actions scenes. His Bonny and Clyde relationship with Gonzalez’s Darling gives Baby a glimpse of what a life of crime could be like with someone you love at your side. Yet, Baby would rather escape crime and run away with Debora, than pull her into this world.
The thorn in Baby’s side is the ruthless Bats (Jamie Foxx). Bats doesn’t like how quiet Baby is and questions his loyalty a number of times. Additionally, the jobs the two work together always seem to get a little hairy thanks to Bats’ itchy trigger finger. Foxx has played characters similar to Bats in the past. His character seems a lot like Motherfucker from Horrible Bosses. However, there’s something about Bats that gives Foxx a little more edginess in Baby Driver. Wright creates a character that is both wretched and intriguing. Conducting a performance from Foxx that makes you hold your breath whenever he’s around. You want him to get what he deserves, yet, at the same time, you almost don’t want to see the character leave the scene.
The strength of this film lies with the great pillars of support surrounding Elgort’s Baby. Hamm, Foxx, and Spacey all provide career-defining portrayals that are some of the best of each of their individual careers. This is a true testament to Wright as a director. Sure these actors are great in the own regard. However, Wright somehow allows them all to command the screen equally and still not outshine the star of the film, Elgort. Baby Driver is a borderline musical with the near endless soundtrack and this crew of performers each serves a key member of the band behind the music.
There is no question. Baby Driver is Edgar Wright’s magnum opus. Every scene is beautifully crafted and edited tight and fast. Nothing feels out of place. The perfect blend of music, car chases, and edgy criminals. Furthermore, the film will pull you in every direction emotionally. The dialogue is witty and humorous, the characters give you something to really latch onto, and the action is outstanding. With most of the action captured on camera, the film has some of the best car chase scenes to ever grace the screen. While some car movies fail to excite when the keys are out of the ignition, Baby Driver keeps the intensity going even when no one is behind the wheel.
All in all, Wright’s Baby Driver provides everything you want in a summer movie. Characters you’ll love to love, some you’ll love to hate, and some twists and turns you’ll never see coming. Combine that with amazing car stunts and a love story that challenges even the best fairy tales, Baby Driver will have people talking about its brilliance for years to come. Don’t be surprised to see the copycats pulling out of every car garage over the next few years. If you see one movie this summer, see this one.
Supchucks’ Official Grade: A
Baby Driver Official Synopsis:
After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Bernthal, Flea, and Lanny Joon.
Director(s): Edgar Wright
Writer(s): Edgar Wright
Rating: R (for violence and language throughout)
Runtime: 113 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures