If you’re looking for a hot summer film ride then let Baby Driver take you there. The Baby in Baby Driver is a young man who steals cars, but unknowingly steals the car of a crime boss who makes him the indentured getaway driver for all his heists.
Baby is portrayed wonderfully by Ansel Elgort, with a joy for life fueled by his love of music. He is still grieving the tragic death of his beloved mother. When driving the heist car he tries to do the right thing even if he is operating on the wrong side of the law. Elgorts previous work included playing Gus in The Fault in Our Stars and Caleb in Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant.
Crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey) is the ruthless mastermind who also has a small soft spot for Baby. Doc puts together heist crews with some real unlikables, notably Bats (Jamie Foxx). Two of the heists include Buddy (John Hamm) and his girlfriend, the beautiful, but rough, Darling (Eiza González). Buddy is generally friendly until he goes maniacally wrong. In one scene, his face is eerily lit by the red glow of a car’s dashboard lights.
In each crew the most notorious criminal seems to have it in for Baby. They don’t appreciate it that he constantly wears sunglasses and listens to his own mixes on his iPod even during armed robbery planning sessions. And oh what an iPod mix it is! Baby knows his music and listens to a wide range of classics including:The Champs “Tequila,” Queen’s “Brighton Rock,” Beck’s “Debra,” and Martha and The Vandellas “Nowhere to Run,” to name a few. If the TV show “Miami Vice’s” original pitch description was was a show like MTV and cops, then Baby Driver could be described as rock and roll robbers. It is a great soundtrack and seems to keep on rolling throughout the movie.
Baby pays back his debt to Doc, but “just when he thinks he’s out, they pull him back in again.” This not only puts Baby in a corner, but in a sour mood as well.
There’s several amazing getaway/chase sequences replete with roaring engines, squealing tires, and sharp turns. Want some gun play, there’s some of that too. Much to writer/director Edgar Wright’s credit the movie features a slightly offbeat plot that takes a few risks that aren’t normal in standard Hollywood summer movie formulas. Baby’s backstory is revealed gradually in the film. His burgeoning romance with diner waitress Deborah (Lily James) is a pleasant counterpoint.
There’s several other notables seen in the movie including Flea, Paul Williams, and Big Boi. Humorous notes in this armed robbery film include the robbers arguing over which Mike Meyers Halloween mask they should have bought for the robbery and Doc’s nephew, who provides some comic relief. Baby Driver is a fast-paced thrill ride showing all green lights.
Rick Handler is executive producer of Entertainment Central and enjoys fast cars and good movies.