Ansel Elgort stars in a wild alternative ecstasy car ride
Are you the kind of person that loves watching hours of music videos? Do you wish that there could somehow be a full feature length music video for you to indulge both your love of film and your love of music? Edgar Wright’s latest film, Baby Driver, is the closest you’ll get to see a music video on the big screen and it’s as awesome as you’d imagine. In a summer full of generic summer movies, Baby Driver is something new.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) has a talent for getaway driving. He uses the beat of the music on his iPod to choreograph the perfect getaway. After meeting the diner waitress, Debora (Lily James), he falls in love and dreams to get getaway with her far away from his life of crime. However, when his boss (Kevin Spacey) threatens to kill his girlfriend, Baby is forced to continue working and give up his dream.
Inspired by his own playlist, Wright creates a 2-hour blood pumping music video filled with stylistic choices, beautiful cinematography, and wild action sequences. Baby Driver gets right what others get wrong. It’s no doubt an exercise in stylish filmmaking. But Wright gives us the best of both worlds. He tells a story that’s interesting with a mysterious main character that’s intriguing while painting a beautiful cinematic style. Baby Driver is as interesting in the background as it is in the forefront. Wright brings background items to life whether it be dryers, trumpets or music, making it a visually stunning masterpiece.
Of course, a big selling point of Baby Driver is the awesome soundtrack used to full extent in the film. It’s self-awareness towards the music that’s playing rewrites the part of music in films. The action sequences are in sync with the tunes even to the extent that they merge completely with it. Gunshots and car wipers are all used effectively to the beat of the music. There are also fantastic banters between characters that will test your musical knowledge. It’s here that you see Wright’s love of film and music coming together and creating an original and fun summer film.
Injecting plenty of sugary goodness, Wright directs every action scenes to perfection. The big car action scenes are exciting. There’s plenty of car stunts and maniacal driving. They are epically big sequences that are made possible by strong directing and excellent cinematography. For casual movie-goers, it’s these heart-racing action scenes that will keep them interested.
As I often say, action scenes are only as strong as the characters in it. Ansel Elgort is great as Baby (yes, B-A-B-Y, Baby). His backstory is touching and tragic while not overstaying it’s welcome. Jon Hamm is a fun addition that will totally shed his “Mad Men” character. Lily James is also good with what is given to her character but in the end, she is just your typical girlfriend character.
It’s exciting to see such a successful merging between two mediums that have been linked before but not to this extent. Musicals are on the revival thanks to last year’s Oscar darling, La La Land and Baby Driver offers striking similarities to it. A sequence involving a long take of Elgort’s character dancing in the street brings to mind the modern musical influences of La La Land. But, Baby Driver is far from being a musical; there is no one breaking out into song and Elgort is a terrible singer. Yet, it’s so steeped in musical culture that it brings to mind that idea so easily.
Ultimately, Baby Driver is what you would call a pseudo-musical action movie hybrid that guarantees a fun and wild times at the movies. Its originality stands out from the generic movies that often get released during the summer. It’s a music lover and film buff’s 2-hour long marriage that you didn’t know you wanted to see.
Baby Driver is released on June 30.