by Paislee House, Film Critic
Written and directed by Edgar Wright, “Baby Driver” is an A+ example of why Wright is so beloved in the action-comedy world. With films like “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead,” Wright has perfected the art of goofy action and perfectly-timed direction.
“Baby Driver” is the story of a 20-somethings kid, nicknamed Baby, who drives getaway cars for an Atlanta crime boss. Though he is great at what he does, he’s a good kid who would rather be delivering pizzas or spending time with the girl he likes. Unfortunately for Baby, that doesn’t really make a great storyline for an action-comedy.
The action in “Baby Driver” is so well choreographed and paced throughout the entire film that at no point does it feel tiring or overdone. Whether it’s a shootout or Baby driving, Wright’s camera moves effortlessly about as it captures extreme moments.
But “Baby Driver” isn’t all action. There are plenty of hilarious moments in the film provided by the all-star cast of Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Kevin Spacey. Each star is able to deliver their lines with precision. In addition, each member of the cast demonstrates a range of abilities from dramatic to heroic to comedic. The cohesiveness of the cast lends itself to the perfectly-timed comedy and action sequences throughout the film, providing the audience with an entertaining, high-quality movie.
The cast also benefits from a great story provided by Wright that centers on a young man who gets caught up in some unsavory activities in order to pay back a debt. Though the story is a classic example of a good kid caught in a bad situation, it is made interesting with Baby’s strange quirk: he constantly listens to music through a pair of earbuds regardless of what is going on around him. This character element allows Wright and composer Steven Price to create an engrossing musical layer in the film. In turn, that musical layer adds a smile-inducing quality to the film as well as great audio cues.
Not only does the music – a mashup of mostly soul classics from the ‘60s and ‘70s – equip the audience with a number of feel-good moments, it also contributes to the storytelling. Scenes in the movie are not only elevated by the music, they are pushed forward. A good example is Baby’s selection of the song “Neat Neat Neat” by English rock band The Damned before a heist. The band’s name is a foreshadowing element while the song is literally about breaking the law.
What makes “Baby Driver” really stand out from the crowd is its editing style and direction. Edgar Wright has become famous for his ability to capture comedic and visually appealing moments with his camera, and those skills are on full display in “Baby Driver.” Wright’s ability to synchronize the movements of every moment in this film is uncanny. This synchronization is embodied by the fact that the camera movements and the soundtrack are one and the same.
The duo behind the editing in this film – Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss – has perfected the art. Every single cut is timed flawlessly and creates a one-of-a-kind feel. Furthermore, there is no wasted space in “Baby Driver,” which is something most movies can’t boast about. Even though it clocks in at nearly two hours, every minute of “Baby Driver” is necessary and fun to watch.
“Baby Driver” is fast, fun and features a top-notch soundtrack. It is trademark Edgar Wright and one of his best films to date. In a summer swimming with superhero flicks, don’t miss this unique action-comedy that reminds us why it’s fun to go to the movies.
“Baby Driver” will be in wide release starting June 28. The film is rated R for violence and language throughout.