Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is a special kind of film. It’s fast, fun, thrilling, hilarious, and never too much of any one thing to prevent others from shining through. It exists in an almost perfect state of suspension, smoothly shifting gears between chase scenes, character building moments, and comedy-driven conversations throughout.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver, though one unlike any other. He has tinnitus stemming from an accident in his childhood, which means he’s listening to music just about 100% of the time. It’s a unique character quirk, but it’s also a great excuse for Edgar Wright to give Baby Driver a soundtrack filled with one killer track after another.
Baby Driver kicks off with a massive jolt of adrenaline thanks to a bank robbery set piece featuring Baby, Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), and Griff (the criminally underused Jon Bernthal). It’s the first of many thrilling chase sequences, and it’s the first indicator that action is just as important as any other element in Baby Driver. After a pulse-pounding sequence, the quartet eventually arrive at their home base, where Doc (Kevin Spacey) splits up the loot among those involved.
It’s at this point that viewers learn about Baby’s motivation for doing this at all—he owes Doc for… something? This part of the backstory is a little thin, to say the least, but it works in the moment. Things really kick into gear at this point, with Baby getting pleas to get out of the criminal world from his deaf foster father Joseph (CJ Jones) and falling quickly into young love with a waitress named Debora (Lily James). Baby’s next job for Doc is supposed to be his last one—yeah, right—and it gets a lot more complicated thanks to the distrusting, aggressive Bats (Jamie Foxx).
Each of these pieces exists in concert with the others, and they work together to paint a picture of Baby as an enigmatic kid who cares deeply, carries a strong moral compass (despite his profession), and really, really loves music. A lot. To the point that he carries multiple iPods loaded with different types of music. The subplots merge with the main plot as Baby gets dragged back in for another job that eventually endangers everyone he cares about, and every element of Baby Driver is kicked up a notch or three as the film barrels toward its conclusion.
Baby Driver is a film that could have only been made by Edgar Wright. He has a singular voice that’s not quite like anyone else in the industry, and it shines throughout Baby Driver‘s near non-stop 113 minutes. Every scene is infused with the film’s disparate tonal elements, and its laugh out loud moments fit right in with its white-knuckled, edge of your seat chase sequences in a way that just works. And it works even better thanks to its interesting, enigmatic central character.
Baby doesn’t talk much, but he’s a deeply funny and entertaining character to watch. He doesn’t seem to care about much, but it quickly becomes clear just how deeply he cares—about people close to him and about near strangers, and especially about his music. Ansel Elgort plays Baby’s aloofness to perfection, carefully keeping anyone and everyone at a distance from some other part of his life. That aloofness disappears as Baby finally takes action for himself late in the movie, and Elgort plays Baby’s unique blend of urgency and action just as well.
The supporting cast is top-notch as well, particularly Jon Hamm’s varied Buddy and Jamie Foxx’s always on, always darkly hilarious Bats. The characters would be entertaining on their own, but throwing them together and alongside Baby makes for some seriously entertaining moments, both in Baby Driver‘s lighter, funnier moments and in its most tense action sequences—both of which are plentiful throughout the film.
Baby Driver‘s action set pieces and chase sequences are shot beautifully, with viewers never at a loss for what’s happening or where everything’s taking place despite the ground covered and the frantic nature of every escape. The driving on display is thrilling, and everything is simply beautiful to watch—and listen to. The movie is also one of the funniest in recent years, with misunderstandings and mismatched characters providing doses of laughter at just the right times.
Baby Driver isn’t the deepest movie of the year, but it might be the most fun. It’s a unique film unlike anything else out there, and it deserves to be celebrated for that alone. But it’s also a very good film, one that’s thrilling and hilarious to the core, often at the same time. Add that all up with a killer soundtrack featuring the likes of Queen, T. Rex, Young MC and many, many more and you’ve got a must-see movie for this summer—or any other time.