Baby Driver, B+
Rated R, 113 minutes
The new crime thriller "Baby Driver" from "Scott Pilgrim" and "Hot Fuzz" director Edgar Wright will have you holding your breath and singing "Easy" by The Commodores at the same time. It's a crazy ride that seems heavily saturated in its own self-aware coolness ala Tarantino, but it's still vastly entertaining.
Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. After meeting the woman (Lily James) of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his shady lifestyle and make a clean break. Coerced into working for a crime boss named Doc (Kevin Spacey), Baby must face the music as a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.
Directed and written by Wright, "Baby Driver" is an exciting, fast-paced look at the life of a getaway driver and desire to go straight. The story is nothing new (one last ride) and its last act is a little messy, but hang on in the back seat for breathless third act and climax that doesn't slow down, with some of the best car chase scenes seen in years. In other words, it's a hell of a ride and easily one of the must-see films of the summer, if not of the year. The film has been gaining considerable buzz after its world premiere at South by Southwest in Austin this past spring, and the film brims with a certain, self-aware hipness and coolness that seems heavily lifted from Quentin Tarantino.
Baby, played by "The Fault in Our Stars'" Elgort in a breakout turn, is something made for movies: he's a getaway driver for Spacey's ruthless crime boss. He's constantly listening to music since he was injured in an accident as a child, leaving him with tinnitus in his ears, not to mention a constant stream of sunglasses and iPod's that play everything from the aforementioned "Easy" to "Nowhere to Run" by Martha and the Vandellas to Barry White's "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" to the relatively obscure "Egyptian Reggae" by punk rock group Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers.
Thing turn bad for Baby when he becomes too close to a couple of low life bank robbers with issues of their own, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm, respectively, hampering Baby's relationship with his new girlfriend, played by the lovely British actress James (of the 2015 live-action version of "Cinderella"). Wright doesn't seem to know when to end the thing, and it goes a tad too long, and some elements aren't fully developed, namely Baby and Doc's relationship, with it never being truly clear what Baby owes him for.
The super cool, extremely hyper car chases, which can become stale in most movies, are used to good effect here and become the film's highlight (the first one, in the first few minutes of the film, is the best), even when bullets and blood tend to overtake the last act. The soundtrack, filled with 30 songs, including three new tunes, is a must-have especially for 1970's music lovers, and it only adds to the fun of the movie. "Baby Driver" is worth your time, just don't try any of those stunts on your own, though.