'Baby Driver' Review
Baby Driver is further evidence that Edgar Wright is the best goddamn and goddamn funnest filmmaker in the last 20 years. Baby Driver is firing on all cylinders (yes that's a car reference. Don't you judge me).
Baby Driver tells the story of Baby (Ansel Egort), a prodigy get away driver, who suffers from tinnitus. He plays music to drown it out, and help him focus while driving. He works for Doc (Kevin Spacey), a mysterious and ruthless crime lord whom Baby owes a large sum of money after previously stealing his car, which may or may not have had a fortune of illegal substances in it. He meets a waitress named Debora. who he becomes infatuated with and tries to get out of the the crime game, but runs into various roadblocks (another one baybay). Rounding out the supporting cast are Jon Hamm and Eiza Gonalez as Bonnie & Clyde-esque couple who work with Baby and Doc, and Jamie Foxx as Bats, the violent wildcard that gets introduced to the mix. Also Flea plays a dude with no nose. All the actors in here are great, with a standout by Foxx, and a surprisingly complex performance by Egort. I wasn't expecting much from him, given his previous...less stellar work in the Divergent series, but he really surprised me here.
Baby Driver is a divergence, and the logical evolution of Wright as a director. This is his first movie that I would wouldn't categorize as a comedy. Sure there are funny moments, but for the most part, in comparison to the Three Flavours Cornetto films, Scott Pilgrim, or even the screenplay of Ant-Man for that matter. The best way I would describe this film is a romantic Action-Crime musical. Watching it, I was reminded of parts of True Romance, in a positive sense- with Baby and Debora's sudden love mirroring that of Clarence and Alabama - but with all the action turned way the hell up. Action is where this movie goes from being a pretty good "crook with a heart of gold film", to the best film of the year so far, and a great action film.
Now Wright has always been good at action, with a keen sense of timing, visual rhythm and editing (think about the town square shoot out in Hot Fuzz, or the the fight hand to hand scenes in Scott Pilgrim or The World's End). But here Wright changes up his usual style of directing action. All the sharp zooms and physical comedy is stripped down, in favor of extremely precisely timed, and rhythmic scenes. These car chases are realistic as all hell, but stylized, and edited in such a way to follow the music that Baby is listening to. Most of the action follows like that; since most of the time, even when say running from the police on foot, Baby is listening to some form of music, weather it be Arena rock, funk, or 60's soul, the action of the scene follows the rhythm. It creates some really fun, and at time, even moments that feel like Musical numbers. The sound design compliments and really the action and the music, whether it's a foot chase, gun fight, or car chase.
In short, Edgar Wright can do no wrong at this point. The man is one of the most creative filmmakers of the last 30 years. Honestly, I don't know how him directing Ant-Man fell through. If I was Marvel, I would've given him a blank check and told him to go crazy.