Baby. Buddy. Griff. Bats. Darling. Meet a few of the players of writer/director Edgar Wright's new cinematic action jazz club, Baby Driver. This is the most thrilling movie I've seen in months.
And I'm not talking about ordinary heart stopping attacks of the visual variety, but ridiculously hair raising off your arm and neck entertainment convolutions that can pop the corn.
Carrying a wicked soundtrack that Quentin Tarantino may even buy, Wright has delivered the perfect summer movie: a world where you don't have to think too much, but must enjoy a lot. A car chase flick that only slows down long enough to fill the gas tank-before burning rubber into a plot that is simple to spin and easy to enjoy.
Ansel Elgort (Fault in Our Stars, Divergent series) breaks out the James Dean cool as Baby, the best driver in town who happens to be the wheels behind Doc's (Kevin Spacey) criminal operation of thieves. The suicide squad includes Jon Hamm's Buddy, Jamie Foxx's Bats, Eiza Gonzalez's Darling, and Jon Bernthal's Griff.
A traumatic accident from his childhood has tuned Baby's ears to the rhythm of needing music in his ears to be able to listen and function in everyday life, which means as the thievery goes on, Baby requires Queen's Brighton Rock to fill his eardrums with a cool breeze before his job kicks into gear.
If you think too much, the third act may wear you down or fly over your head. Wright just wants to have fun, throwing a few twists into the standard "all that starts bad will end bad for criminals" genre. Take a load off, get a larger size of popcorn, and be ready to be blown away. Baby Driver may be the most exhilarating movie I've seen in 2017.
The cast invest themselves in roles that other actors may have chewed too hard on or simply slept through. Elgort is a rebel without a cause, a simple kid who wants to be done with Doc but is loyal to a fault. His need to escape only speeds up when he meets the lovely Debora (Lily James). Spacey and Foxx offer viewers the usual strong blend of menace and mystery, while I left wanting more of Bernthal's devilish thug. He is an actor I always leave wanting to have more time.
The true stud of Baby Driver is Hamm, who is having the time of his life as a good man who broke bad. I mean, very bad. Hamm has movie star looks and acting chops, but he fits sweetly into killer ensembles, and often steals the movie in the process. Buddy isn't a noble man or an evil soul, but he is dangerous, and the last 20 minutes of the movie promise something truly special with the Mad Men alum, who looks more free than ever in his career. Hamm needs to work more, but if there are more juicy roles like Buddy out there, Hamm can take his time and choose wisely.
Make no mistake, Baby Driver is ridiculously over the top and insanely energized for most of its 100 minutes, but you won't be able to take your eyes off the screen. As he did with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Wright takes the familiar and paints a coat of cool style on top of it, making it feel brand new. There's just enough substance in this film. Baby's relationship with his surrogate father, Joseph (C.J. Jones), and his romance with Debora. Buddy's past has a few clicks to its barrel, and Doc isn't all he seems.
Then again, you aren't walking into Baby Driver to soak up a period drama. The goal is to be entertained, and Wright delivers that and offers up dessert.
A special tip of the cap to the stunt drivers who make the eight extended car chases memorable, and the editing of this film is tight. It's like a smooth jazz tune playing on a Sunday afternoon. You'll smile, be excited, and may want seconds.
Baby Driver shoots to thrill, and succeeds. Buy a fucking ticket!