4 years since concluding his iconic The Cornetto Trilogy with The World's End and Edgar Wright is finally getting behind the wheel yet again, this time for car chase/heist/action-musical Baby Driver.

Edgar Wright is, undoubtedly, one of the best filmmakers working today, with not a single bad film under his belt - from his brilliant debut Shaun of the Dead to the hilarious Hot Fuzz, genius The World's End and the astounding Scott Pilgrim, it's always safe to bet on Wright. Not only was Baby Driver one of my most anticipated films of the year but it had a lot to live up to, given my love - and most people's love - for all of the aforementioned films. And there's a line about halfway through this film in which Eliza González's Darling says "this shit is bananas, dawg" and it's a quote that perhaps best encapsulates this film. This shit is, indeed, bananas. This is easily the best film of the year thus far and will be a hard one to top. Baby Driver is Edgar Wright at his best; it is everything you could hope it would be, and then some. It is one helluva fucking ride!
Our eyes into this story are Baby (Ansel Elgort), a young twenty-somethings getaway driver that is very good at his job. However, when he falls for barista Debora (Lily James), he will have to find a way out of the business - against the will of his boss, Doc (Kevin Spacey) - as a big job arises on the horizon. Of course, on paper, this sounds pretty paint-by-the-numbers; it's something we've seen done many times before - the guy in crime falls for girl, has to fight to get out etc. However, what puts this above its peers is Edgar Wright. He is the real star of this film. He is a genius and visionary behind the camera, and the direction is remarkable. What makes this film so special is that it's a film driven by its soundtrack - this is, in essence, a musical. An action musical, even. And it's a terrific one at that too; the soundtrack choices are superb and the editing to the music is so brilliantly enjoyable. Music doesn't just accompany this film, it's a part of the film, a character in itself and it blends so seamlessly and necessarily with the film.

From a technical standpoint, this is masterful. The cinematography is gorgeous, with such beautiful shots - this is a film that oozes style. From the quick, Edgar Wright-cuts to the vibrant colour palette to the music choices, this is such a damn cool film. However, whilst there are those that claim Wright is more "style than substance", Baby Driver comes fueled with as much substance and heart as it does slick, shiny style and aesthetic. The characters are all so superbly realised; we find ourselves so invested in Baby and, especially, in his relationship with Debora when that's introduced - there is a genuine relatability and charm to the pair. The sharp writing also takes this up a notch; as we'd expect from an Edgar Wright film, Baby Driver is hilarious. The banter and interaction between all of these fascinating and very different characters is so fun to watch, it's hilarious and tense and compelling.

Of course, the action is unequivocal. All of the stuntwork we are watching is real and there's very little - if any at all - CGI used here and it's terrifically impressive. The sequences are beautiful and genuinely quite breathtaking and exhilarating to watch. Again, the music backing these sequences only heighten them further. Wright orchestrates the tension superbly too, especially leading up to a very intense, white-knuckle and wholly enthralling and fun finale. This feels very much like an old-school, 80s heist thriller and it's so refreshing to see it done right - whilst never playing for nostalgia or feeling very and tired and riddled with a bad case of déjà-vu. The cast are all, undoubtedly, stellar. Elgort is a star in the making and really shines in a role that gives him much more nuance and depth than we've seen from him before. Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Jon Bernthal, Lily James and Jon Hamm also, expectedly, give some magnificent and magnetic support too - especially Foxx as the psychotic, unpredictable and quite frankly terrifying yet charismatic Bats.

Baby Driver is a glorious, thoroughly entertaining and epic thrill ride. It's hard to find many flaws with this; perhaps a slow pace in the first act? But it opts for some great character-building instead, which pays off in the second half anyway. The fact the first hour is basically non-stop music? Well, it works. This is not only a film for the ages, it is a musical for the ages too - certainly on-par with another musical masterpiece that released early this year by the name of La La Land. Set to a booming, killer soundtrack, this film brings the heart, the drama, the tension, the fun and the charm. It is jaw-dropping and exciting in the best of ways; a Summer blockbuster that brings the smarts and the wits as well as the spectacle and the action. This is a triumph. And yet again, we have the genius of Edgar Wright to thank for another awesome delight.


VERDICT:

Baby Driver is an astounding triumph; a genuinely epic, jaw-dropping spectacle and cinematic masterpiece with one killer soundtrack.



About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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