By Kim Hughes
Baby Driver is a hoot. It’s also ridiculous bordering on preposterous, but it’s the giddiest you’ll feel in the theatre all summer.
Doubtless aware that the getaway driver genre (can we call it that?) peaked in 2011 with Nicolas Winding Refn’s superb Drive, writer/director Edgar Wright – who helmed the similarly brilliant/absurd dramedies Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – veers away from making any grand or consequential statements.
Instead, he plays his movie for brisk, white-knuckle thrills, using ace casting (some of it stunt) to dazzle audiences from the first scene to the last with nary a moment to reflect on what we’ve just seen.
As with many good things in life, the best way to approach Baby Driver is to simply surrender to it.
The official film synopsis – with some add-ons - is as serviceable as any: “Baby (Fault In Our Stars hunk Ansel Elgort) is a talented, young getaway driver who relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game.
“When he meets the girl of his dreams (Cinderella’s Lily James), he sees a chance to ditch his criminal life and make a clean getaway. But after being coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey, terrific), Baby must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.”
Indeed. And while facing that proverbial music, Baby must also tussle with Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm as unhinged and criminally inclined thugs with a hate-on for the world and, especially, each other. Hoo-haw! If there is anything more fun than watching Spacey, Hamm and Foxx play over-the-top bad-asses in the same movie, we have yet to see it.
That we also get 70s icon Paul Williams and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea is gravy. The film’s Atlanta setting, meanwhile, spares us the by-now-familiar landscapes common to chase movies set in Los Angeles.
As might be expected in a film centred on a getaway driver perennially rocking ear buds, Baby Driver has some spectacular chase scenes - strikingly, not all of them in vehicles – and a killer soundtrack that probably cost more to license than hair, makeup and wardrobe combined. But they’ll recoup. You can bet on it.
Baby Driver. Directed by Edgar Wright. Starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal and Eiza Gonzalez. Opens wide June 28.
An entertainment/lifestyle writer and editor of an exquisite vintage, Kim has written about film, music, books, food, wine, cosmetics and cars for the Toronto Star, NOW Magazine, Report on Business, Amazon.com, hmv, Salon, Elevate, CBC, Spafax and many other marquee properties. She lives in Toronto and is a proud volunteer with Annex Cat Rescue.