A commercial movie doesn’t have to feature heroes wearing capes or massive explosions every five minutes. It can still be interesting minus the bells and whistles of popular film-making. What it needs are strong stories, great characters and astute direction. All of these can be found in Baby Driver. Directed by Edgar Wright, who helmed Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, his latest is a quirky and fun heist caper. It also stands out in the current glut of sequels and superhero movies as it arrives in cinemas as a welcome cinematic antidote.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young man with a special talent. A getaway driver for dangerous criminal Doc (Kevin Spacey), Baby joins in the various crooked heists to earn a living. Coping with the pressure of the lifestyle via his iPod filled with classic tracks, Baby thinks he has life settled. That is until he meets Debora (Lily James) who captures his heart. Sensing a chance to ditch his dodgy ways for a better life, he must survive one final shady mission before he can move toward brighter horizons.
Baby Driver is an enjoyably breezy action heist flick. It’s ‘cool’ without being too smart for its own good. You can see where Baby is coming from and how he wants to achieve his dreams. Whilst he’s a wayward character, his heart is in the right place with his relationship with Debora grounding him in an uneven world. She represents a new, more hopeful existence than the miscreants with whom he deals. People such as Doc remind him of how he could become if he stays on the haphazard road that usually ends in tears.
Edgar Wright tackles Baby Driver’s myriad of themes with energetic precision. He knows how to tell a fast paced story filled with passionate danger and relatable characters. No one person is right or wrong, with the emotional grey areas easily understood by the viewers. None of this would work without the talented cast and a tight script increasing tension to a blistering finale. The car action sequences feel much more authentic than elsewhere with an excitement level matching the personal moments with ease.
In a year filled with blockbusters adding to the overall franchise fatigue cinema is currently experiencing, Baby Driver deserves praise. Whilst it’s not totally original, it has enough of its own unique vibe to make it stand out. It can be hoped Edgar Wright directs more off-kilter classics like these to save movie-goers from the endless stream of super-heroic hijinks.
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Rating out of 10: 8