‘Baby Driver’ – Edgar Wright’s Lethal Dose of Fast Cars and Great Music

Edgar Wright delivers a breathtaking and thrilling action musical-esque masterpiece subtly disguised as a blockbuster heist movie

By Jack Iskandar

Baby Driver follows the story of titular character, Baby, an extremely talented getaway driver with severe tinnitus, a physical condition whereby constant ringing or buzzing is heard when no other external sounds are present. To drown out the noise, Baby uses carefully selected music from his iPod as his personal soundtrack to suit different occasions. And whether he’s making a casual peanut butter sandwich or speeding away from police, music is a dynamic and key part in both the movie and Baby’s life.

However, Baby Driver’s biggest strength doesn’t lie with the plot but how director and writer Edgar Wright managed to blend the unadulterated action that comes with high speed car chases and gunfights with the beautifully crafted soundtrack. Almost every scene in the movie is in synchronicity with the music, even right down to the beat. Traditionally, scenes are written, shot and edited before a composer comes in and composes the score according to the scene. In Baby Driver, Edgar Wright chose to start out with selected music tracks and then let the chosen song dictate the narrative of the scenes.

The car chase scene of the movie has no dialogue and plays out more like a performance by Stomp (the percussive physical theatre troupe, not The Straits Times news website) and this is where Baby Driver shines the brightest. From the squeaks of the windshield wipers to the thuds of the car doors being closed, everything you hear or see is perfectly timed to the music. The stunts are impressive but not over the top like those in the Fast & Furious movies, however, it’s easy to miss the extreme level of detail that Edgar Wright has put in — basically contributing to the fact that I want to watch the movie again.

Credit: Wilson Webb © 2016 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

Baby is played by the (aptly babyfaced) Ansel Elgort while Debora, Baby’s love interest, is played by the beautiful Lily James. Doc, the intimidating mastermind behind the motley crew of bank robbers and pseudo father figure to Baby is played by Kevin Spacey. Buddy and Darling, a modern day Bonnie and Clyde who just can’t seem to take their eyes (and themselves) off of each other, are played by Jon Hamm and Eiza González respectively. Bats, the unsettled loose cannon who is always one step from killing everyone is played by Jamie Foxx. The actors are all portrayed as over-exaggerated versions of character archetypes — only made possible by the actors who clearly have great chemistry with each other. Jamie Foxx’s unsettling performance as a trigger-happy lunatic and Kevin Spacey’s muted performance as the cool headed kingpin are my personal favourites.

Credit: Wilson Webb © 2016 CTMG, Inc. 

Overall, Baby Driver is a unique experience and one of Edgar Wright’s more ambitious projects. His signature style of comedy (present in his previous works like Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim) are still apparent in Baby Driver. At it’s core, the story is about a boy who meets a girl, and both of them want to escape the unfortunate circumstances of their lives. Baby Driver is a relatable and sweet narrative with well-shot action set pieces, sprinkled with charming bits of humor throughout, a must watch for any fan of Edgar Wright. Also, along with Get Out, it is one of 2017’s best movies so far.

Rating: 9.5/10