We meet Baby (Ansel Elgort) in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lives with his deaf foster father Joseph (CJ Jones), and works as a getaway driver for Doc (Kevin Spacey) and whatever team he musters up for the robberies he conducts, in order to pay off a debt from years past. Baby is rarely seen without his iPod and wayfarers on, living to the beat of the music and having a song for every moment of his life.
Interestingly, as music plays a huge part in “Baby Driver”, the sweetest moments are often when no words are said. The relationship between Baby and Joseph is of very few spoken words, but they communicate not only through sign language, but also through the beat of Baby’s favourite tunes. Baby not only listens to music constantly, but he turns everyday conversation into something with a beat, and we are introduced to a huge collection of his own work in the form of a briefcase full of cassette tapes.
Director Edgar Wright has pulled off what the “Fast and the Furious” franchise used to be, and what “La La Land” should’ve been. The big action scenes with every key movement and explosion hitting the beat of the songs is nothing short of genius, and the same goes for Baby’s natural rhythm as he moves through the streets, earphones in check. Each car chase is like a well-orchestrated symphony, with Baby barely moving an extra muscle as he speeds through streets in a Grand Theft Auto-esque pursuit.
Fans of Wright will recognise “Baby Driver” as an extension of the film clip he directed in 2003 for “Blue Song” by Mint Royale, in which Noel Fielding played the music-loving, shades-wearing getaway driver. But 2003 was a simpler time, and Fielding had to use a CD player in the car, rather than the portable iPod technology that Baby has.
The love story that occurs between Baby and Debora (Lily James) is romance in its purest form, and is reminiscent of a high school crush that slowly develops organically, thanks to common interests, physical attraction and cutesy flirting. This is completely opposite to the partnership of Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eiza González), which is very hands-on (quite literally), especially for a married couple. It’s through these stories that I draw the likening to “La La Land” – the romances are soundtrack-driven and almost feel like a performance all the way through the movie. And I mean “performance” in a completely positive sense of the word.
The soundtrack for “Baby Driver” is so carefully chosen, and spans from Queen to The Commodores, and everything in between. Baby reeks of someone who appreciates music from the deepest level, despite him listening merely to dull the ringing in his ears from a childhood accident. Every moment of this film is poetry, and Wright has done a brilliant job by accounting for every second.
Katie gives “Baby Driver” 4 out of 5 cars.