Baby Driver (2017)
A smart, stylish & sophisticated extravaganza from Edgar Wright that’s crafted with passion, pierced with sharp wit, features a vibrant set of characters who are expertly brought to life by its colourful cast, and packs a whole lot of swag that goes along perfectly with its stupefying car chases, thrilling gunslinging action & a groovy soundtrack that always plays the right track at the right time, Baby Driver is one of the coolest films to come out this year, and is as original as it is invigorating.
Baby Driver concerns a young getaway driver who’s a wizard behind the wheels, and relies on music to keep himself focused. Working for a mastermind heist planner in an effort to repay the debt he owes him, he eventually heads out for a life of freedom after paying his remaining dues, strikes a close friendship with a waitress at a restaurant he frequents, and is hopeful about the future that lies ahead. But all that is threatened when he’s coerced back for another job that’s pretty much doomed to fail.
Written & directed by Edgar Wright, Baby Driver starts its journey with possibly the best opening scene of the year thus far that may also easily rank amongst the most breathtaking car chase sequences in contemporary cinema. However, that particular segment happens to be so intoxicating & ingeniously choreographed that it sets a really high bar for the rest of the story and unfortunately, the film is unable to attain that same height again for the remainder of its runtime, despite coming close on a number of occasions.
One of the most refreshing things about an Edgar Wright film is that it is always on the move and doesn’t halt for even a second. There’s always something happening at any given time, if not in the foreground then in the background, and it’s jam-packed with countless references & easter eggs. What’s truly unique about his latest venture is the ideal fusion of image & sound, for the interplay between its visuals & music exhibits pitch-perfect harmony here as if the character’s movements were timed with the beat of the film’s songs.
Camerawork is swift & energetic, and those vivid images do come alive, thanks to its precision application of wide-ranging colour palette & bright lighting. The absence of CGI in those spectacular car chase sequences undeniably brings an admiration of its own. Editing is good for the most part but the third act is quite predictable, overly stretched & certainly not as exciting as the first one. Music is one of its finest aspects, keeps the juices flowing from the first frame to the last, and plays a key role in uplifting the viewing experience.
Coming to the acting department, the cast consists of Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx & Jon Bernthal, and almost every cast member gets to have his or her moments in the final print. Elgort plays the leading guy but he’s unable to create a curiosity about his character the way others are able to. Spacey is impressive as always. James’ input gets better as plot progresses. Both Hamm & González deliver fabulous performances in their given roles. And Foxx is in as an impulsive & trigger-happy criminal and while his take has an unhinged side to it, it’s also hilarious at times.
On an overall scale, Baby Driver is a smashing blend of kinetic direction, intelligent writing, dynamic photography, top-notch stunts, steady pace, smooth editing, splendid songs & compelling performances, and has plenty of fun, laughs & entertainment in store for both Edgar Wright’s devotees as well as casual filmgoers. As for me, the movie started on an extremely positive note but lost its way in the middle before running out of fuel in the final act. And it is frustrating because, despite having all the required ingredients, it didn’t go for what was up for grabs. To sum it up, Baby Driver is no doubt alluring, amusing & appeasing but it could’ve been so much more.