By: Jeremy Perrigo
This action-crime thriller from writer and director Edgar Wright is one of the must see films of the summer. Whether you like a good car chase, a love story, guns and violence, or all of the above, this is a film you should plan on watching.
Setting the Scene
Ansel Elgort, best known for his lead role in The Fault in Our Stars (2014), plays Baby, an extremely skilled getaway driver who is haunted by a childhood tragedy that saw him lose both of his parents in a car crash.
The story begins outside a bank in Atlanta, Georgia, with Baby sitting behind the wheel of an apple-red Subaru WRX STI watching crewmates Griff (Jon Bernthal), Buddy (Jon Hamm), and Darling (Eiza González) sprint towards the entrance of a large stone building, empty cash bags in hand.
We are told that after the death of his parents, Baby finds himself in trouble when he steals a car belonging to a heist mastermind by the name of Doc (Kevin Spacey). Doc realizes early on the skills of young Baby and recruits him as a getaway driver on the condition that after a certain amount of heists, Baby will have paid off the debts he owed from the stolen car.
Music plays an underlying theme throughout the movie. Though Baby did survive the car crash that killed both of his parents, he was left with tinnitus, a condition that creates a consistent ringing in the ears that he drowns out by playing music. Baby’s mother was a singer and it is apparent early on that he has a strong emotional attachment to the music he listens to, as it provides a type of escape from the horrors of his past.
It is clear that Baby wants out of the criminal world he has become a part of. He lives with his deaf foster father, Joseph (CJ Jones), who knows that Baby is involved in criminal activity and expresses his disapproval of his adopted son’s work throughout the film. Baby also meets a young southern sweetheart by the name of Debora (Lily James) who has just become a waitress at a diner he frequents. Him and Debora talk about getting out of Atlanta, however, Baby knows that until he has paid off Doc that he will not be able to go anywhere without putting the people he loves in harm's way.
While Elgort plays soft-spoken Baby, a 20-something-year-old that has relatively few lines for a leading role, the mastery of his character comes through the body language he uses to communicate emotions throughout the film. Music and rhythm dictate the pace of the movie in a way that is rarely executed with such precision.
Kevin Spacey plays the part of a blunt, no-nonsense, criminal mastermind that he is well known for in roles such as Micky Rosa in 21 (2008) or Frank Underwood in House of Cards (2013-2017). Even Jamie Foxx keeps you on the edge of your seat, playing an unpredictable and borderline-psychotic role as a long-time criminal called Bats.
While Baby Driver is an action-thriller, it also tugs at the heart strings at times, depicting not only love for a girl, but also for a foster father that represents the only family the protagonist has left in his life after the premature death of his parents.
Add in some subtle, quirky, humor, the kind that is famous in other Wright films such as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) and you’ve got a movie that should certainly be on your bucket list for summer 2017.