In this writers humble opinion, Edgar Wright has never made a bad movie (I don’t count his debut, A Fistful Of Fingers mainly because I haven’t seen it and it may disprove my argument). From the two series of the TV show Spaced which made his name, to his rightfully hailed Three Flavors Trilogy, to his Canadian comic book oddity Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, the visionary British director has laid out years of awesomeness that has rightly made him a geek overlord the world over.
With his newest feature, crime throwback Baby Driver, Wright seems to have turned a substantial corner. His first film to scripted entirely by him (no Simon Pegg assistance here) and not be based on an existing source, this Walter Hill inspired tale is all Wright on full cylinders, his distinct visual style completely untethered, free of knowing references to other movies, to tell his story how he wants.
The results are inspiring. A minimalist story with maximum character and an incredible eye and ear, huge amounts of character work are contained in a simple camera move or a song choice, with a rich vein of humor running right through the middle.
Baby is a getaway driver. A really bloody good one. Using endless tunes to drown out tinnitus from a childhood accident, he can put the pedal to the metal like no one else. Working for terse, wisecracking kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey harvesting the best lines) he frequently has to cart around a colourful array of bank robbing lunatics to pay off a debt. Falling for waitress Deborah (Lily James) and paying off what he owes he finds that his life of crime may not be done with him yet. Drawn into one last job (aren’t they all) with the maniacal Bats (a top form Jamie Foxx almost matching Spacey for killer one-liners) and Buddy (an entertainingly washed out Jon Hamm) Baby’s plans rapidly fall apart as his guilt and his good nature collide with his dangerous work mates.
Frankly, this movie is a damn masterpiece. Flawlessly shot, cinematographer Bill Pope deserves an Oscar if only for the opening car chase alone, frantically edited and gorgeously visualised (watch for song lyrics subconsciously mounted as graffiti during the musical credits sequence) this is a movie that requires numerous viewings to absorb every trick, joke and nuance.
The Fault In Our Stars actor Ansel Elgort gives Baby a wonderful line in James Dean style enigmatic charisma and Lilly James radiates the kind of otherworldly girl next door perfection seen in David Lynch movies, but it’s the supporting cast that round things our to perfection.
There’s more than a whiff of plot convenience brought on by the sheer wish fulfillment that is the crux of the main story, but let’s be honest, if it wasn’t a problem in True Romance, then it’s not a problem but the very presence of Spacey here in light of his recent scandal makes things very uncomfortable at times.
However, fast, fun and staggeringly cool, Baby Driver was a lock for my top ten for that year and I strongly recommend you see it by any means necessary.
Hell, steal a damn car if you have to…