"Baby Driver" Review: Wright is Right

“Baby Driver” is the cinematic fresh air that you hope to catch during the summer season! It’s the movie that will be talked about on everyone’s end of year lists, and deservedly so. Director Edgar Wright has turned out another hit!

The film follows Baby (Ansel Elgort), a young getaway driver, whose skills behind the wheel are unmatched. He works for Doc (Kevin Spacey), a brilliant crime boss who masterminds heists. Doc never puts the same crew together, but his one consistent “lucky charm” is Baby. Baby lives the way most of us would love to, with a song for every occasion, which he plays on an old school ipod or three that he keeps on himself at all times to drown out the hum caused by a childhood accident.

Off the rip we see an awesome get away car chase sequence, introducing us to Buddy (Jon Hamm), his dangerous girlfriend Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), and a nice bit part for Jon Bernthal as Griff. These characters are fully realized, while over the top criminals. As we’re introduced to Baby’s world we see just how much it all contains music.

In fact, the key to this film is the infusion of music. It’s comprised of the moments when you’ve been in your car and punched the gas because of a dope beat, played that Adele song to match your emotional state, or that love song when you’ve found that special someone! Except this is a movie, and therefore the story can be told at tempo. It’s edited to cut to the rhythm of the 808, slows down to the strings, and even machine guns fire to the beat. What could have turned out to be gimmicky is used with just the right amount of detail at the right time, that it adds to the engagement of the film.

The movie’s pace is a bit awkward after the initial sequences, but once it’s in the zone it’s a joy ride until the end. Perhaps some of that has to do with the casting. Overall, this is a stellar cast, beautifully blended together. I think it’s some of the best work we’ve seen from Jamie Foxx in a while with his character Bats. He’s the scary mixture of volatile and street smart that you respect but don’t turn your back on if you’re in the same room; which helps to add to the intensity and suspense when the film gets cooking. Ansel Elgort seems a bit outmatched and I preferred the moments when he was not talking, but he works for the film. His love interest, Debora (Lily James), is an acquired taste as well, reminiscent of the character work Juliette Lewis did in her youth. However, by the end of the film you settle in to the odd couple romance.

If you’re looking for an original film to see this weekend, “Baby Driver” is it! Honestly, if you’re looking for something original in the past few years it’s still a contender. While the idea of “one last job and I’m out” is nothing new, it’s the getting there that’s fresh. The chase scenes are stand out, the soundtrack is on point, and the script is great. Go see it this weekend!

Rating: B+

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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.