BABY DRIVER (2017)
Critic - No.121
Director: Edgar Wright
Casts: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eriza Gonzalez, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx
Music: Steven Price
Genre: Action / Crime / Music
A young getaway driver vows to be part of a final heist before starting a life with his soul mate. However, he is forced into another dangerous crime doomed to fail.
You can never expect something straightforward or downright serious from a filmmaker like Edgar Wright. After a series of summer blockbusters filled with CGI galore, Edgar Wright brings you to the days where movies were thrilling with swift plot twist, racy wheel chases and a sprinkle of clichéd but admirable romantic kisses.
The film opens up with a long take of Baby walking through a day of heist accompanied by his energetic, driving playlist. The sequence evolves into a racy car chase as the crew scoots off after heist. But all these are not presented in the way your blockbuster film does. In fact everything is lightened by the music and what we enjoy is Baby’s world of adrenaline rush whenever he is behind the wheel. This entire first heist sets the tone of the film and buckles the audience expectation for the next two hours.
The film is almost like an ipod and has an excellent synergy with music and movement of the narrative. Like a playlist, it changes tone now and then, leading to a chaotic, fairly violent climax that shocks you for the contrasting way it started. The main selling point of the film for me, is the feel good sequences married with some good old, formulaic clichés that are treated with bizarre musicality. The likes of having voice recording remixed into tracks and the lead pair dancing to tunes that has their name are few instances of Edgar Wright’s inter-textual beauty. Making the protagonist suffer from a painful flashback that connects to the musical nature of him in present, emotionally backs the film throughout.
Racing off in a plain white tee, dark skinny jeans, live wire earpiece and off-brand sunglasses, Elgort brings a physical musicality to every on-screen task. He literally moves the concept further with his extremely charismatic persona. His excellent chemistry with the angelic Lily James, makes us root for the couple to escape the impending doom that unveils slowly in the second act. Kevin Spacey is the best casting decision ever as the unpredictably witty and merciless gang leader. Other casts like Jamie Foxx (strong yet underused) and Jon Hamm spice things up towards the obstacle filled climax.
On the flipside, the film’s screenplay occasionally staggers during the middle with scenes that often run more that it needs too. One instance is the planning sequences where we see how much the crew hates Baby. But the sparkling interest never reduces until the climax where we see an extended third act that settles off into a more surreal and long-winded conclusion to a film that has traveled 150 m/s. All said, Edgar Wright has given an innovative, feel good romantic action flick that will be remembered as a sheer pinnacle in the director’s career.
Paced with a bundle of killer soundtracks, writer-director Edgar Wright serves up a highly energetic heist ride that is downright entertaining, witty and refreshing.
CELLULOID METER - 3.75/5: