This is a heist movie at its best, an action movie at its best and more than a few other genres at their best, too. It’s the sort of movie where every moment is carefully crafted to tell audiences a hell of a lot more than they think they’re getting. Every element is perfected, nuanced. So how do you begin to compare it?
There’s a lot of talk about 'Baby Driver' being the new 'Pulp Fiction', and honestly, they have a point: there’s chaos and action aplenty, with complex characters that it's hard not to adore, no matter how horrible they may or may not be. There’s gore too and if you’re the squeamish type you might not enjoy it much. But if you don’t mind a bit of carnage, you are in for a hell of a treat here.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a heist driver with a tragic backstory, of course, because heist drivers and tragic backstories are in a deeply committed relationship at this point and happy, well-adjusted people don’t tend to drive felons about for their own amusement. The problem is that Baby wants out. Again, not an uncommon trope and you’d be forgiven for an eyeroll or two about the excitement this movie’s generating based on that description.
But the writing here takes a typical heist flick and turns it on its head. It’s hardly a shocker that Edgar Wright has brought new life into what could easily be passed off as an overdone genre, and if you’re a fan of his other works, 'Baby Driver' certainly won’t disappoint.
Alongside Baby is a cast of flawed, fractured, and f’ed up characters it’s really hard not to love. Kevin Spacey is glorious as Doc, the leader of the team hell-bent on keeping Baby away from civilian life.
Jamie Foxx is captivating as Bats, probably the closest the movie comes to falling into the dodgier tropes of the genres. He’s the token crazy violent type, quick with a quip or a bullet. And yet, when you look beneath the surface, there’s a lot at play subverting those tropes. Bats is the everyman – the Watson of the movie – smart enough to clue audiences into elements easy to miss while dramatically upping the tension. If John Watson and Jim Moriarty had a lovechild who liked shooting people in the face, his name would be Bats.
Unsurprisingly, the soundtrack is killer, with each song chosen to convey a mood, and characterisation, and keep momentum high during the high-stakes, ass-whooping extravaganza of the story. Expect at least a few chair-dancing movie-goers, or the odd breaking into song from the audience, because the soundtrack is just that good.
If you hate violence and bad language, this is probably a movie you’re going to struggle through. But if you’re a fan of the odd blood spatter, or, like me, a giggler in the more violent moments, this is probably the movie to see as soon as humanly possible.
And then it’s the movie to go see again as soon as humanly possible.