Baby Driver is a stylish crime flick centering on a getaway driver forced in to working for crime boss, Kevin Spacey. From the opening scene it’s clear that Baby (Ansel Engort), is good at what he does, with a fantastic car chase featuring some exceptional stunts and tricks. It’s also a given that he’s not comfortable with this line of work, and when he meets waitress Deborah (Lily James), in a local diner he decides to call time on his driving career. This isn’t an easy feat however, as his path to the straight and narrow is filled with twists and turns. One of his jobs is made extremely difficult by Jamie Foxx’s highly strung Bats, and it’s from this encounter with the fiercely intimidating character that things start to fall apart for everyone. Despite being a film about a getaway driver, most of the impressive driving action is seen in the opening few minutes, with some astonishing tricks and exhilarating action. That’s not to say the other car chases in the film aren’t entertaining, but it does seem like the really good stuff is shown off too quickly, or perhaps it’s reflective of Baby’s complicity in these heists. The less he’s willing to go along with, the less glamourous the driving.
As with Wright’s other films, he’s not afraid to pay homage to his influences, be it on the nose or a little more subtle. There are moments that recall David Lynch, Michael Mann, Martin Scorcese and the oft-mentioned Walter Hill. The inspiration doesn’t stop there however, as the film is driven (forgive the pun) as much by the music as anything else, taking in all kinds of genres – punk, rock, hip-hop, soul, metal, and pretty much any other kind of music you can think of. The sound is so much of a factor, that it’s used in everything from footsteps to gunshots. All are to the beat of the music. It’s as if the film is as much as musical as anything else, but rather than the characters singing, it’s the surroundings. The everyday normality. The traffic passing, a door closing, even a washing machine all contribute to the amazing sound design that’s on display, and if you’re a sucker for a rhythm, then this was tick some satisfying boxes.
Everyone in this film is a joy to watch and the action scenes are all exciting, shot in that stylishly way Wright is known for, with quick-fire editing, fast, smart dialogue and a knack for inventive action scenes. Baby Driver stands out from the crowd, and isn’t your average crime thriller. It’s a breath of fresh air for action cinema and is one of Wright’s best films yet. If this is the result of Wright leaving Ant-Man, then it was most definitely for the greater good.