Edgar Wright ditches his usual penchant for parody and delivers a surprisingly straight-faced action car chase movie with “Baby Driver”. The big creative element is the huge role music plays in the film, and how Wright infuses the music into the kinetics of the film, in-time, so sound effects and music join in a big glorious melding of noise, putting the viewer right in the protagonist’s mindset.
While the soundtrack pulls heavily from 70s rock and blues, the romance at the heart of the film is surprisingly old school, more 50s style. I wouldn’t call it underwritten, just hearkening back to an older, more archetype-led, type of film storytelling.
The romance didn’t bother me at all, I found it quite sweet, but I found the ending puzzling. It just kept going on, and on. Perhaps it’s like Wright’s earlier film “The World’s End”, with a similarly extended ending that I had to ponder for a while before coming to terms with, because I’m not sure I quite get what Wright was going for it with it at this time.
In any case, the writing’s one thing, but the music is the thing. Well, the editing and choreography too, it’s the synergy between all these things that works so well.
Jon Hamm delivers his first post-”Mad Men” role that really worked for me, as he ditches the comedy diversions and plays something meatier. Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx also do fun work that fits the genre. Ansel Elgort is okay as the lead but kind of feels like a hole at the centre of the film at times, I can’t help feeling someone more charismatic could have really infused the film with more energy. In a lot of ways the film seems to draw from Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive”, and Elgort works as a near-mute successor to Ryan Gosling’s character in that sense, but the film calls for more.
The way Wright plays with the inherent escapism behind music is really well done and not overplayed, but it really is the sheer kinetics of the film that stun the most. I give it four earbuds, and an old iPod.