Published Jun 27, 2017British director Edgar Wright could have set his career on cruise control after completing his Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End) back in 2013, living a life of Marvel movies and franchise reboots. Instead, he's made the best movie of his career with Baby Driver, a visceral, varied and thrilling crime caper that puts rising star Ansel Elgort in the driver's seat — and has a killer soundtrack to boot.
Over two decades in the making (Wright first got the idea for the film in his early 20s, and later tested it out in a Mint Royale music video starring Noel Fielding and Michael Smiley), Baby Driver tells the story of Baby (Elgort), a young getaway driver for hire working for a crime lord (Kevin Spacey) in Atlanta's seedy underbelly. When he meets Debora (Lily James) late at night at a local diner, he falls for her and decides he wants out. Instead, he's roped into one final robbery.
Wright has always had a great sense of rhythm when it comes to his filmmaking, and Baby Driver is no different: the car chases are exquisite, the getaways are glorious and the editing (reportedly done on the fly while shooting each day on set) is some of his best yet, giving every action scene a real sense of speed and precision. It's all complemented by one of the best soundtracks in years, featuring everything from Beck and Barry White to Simon & Garfunkel (whose "Baby Driver" inspired the film's title) and Sky Ferreira (who also plays Baby's mom in a series of flashbacks).
A plot point involving a childhood car accident that makes Baby wear a pair of iPhone ear buds to drown out his crippling tinnitus allows Wright to toy with diegetic sound like never before, and the results (an unforgettable opening scene set to "Bellbottoms," a coffee run that moves like a musical and a remix project that brought Kid Koala to the film's set, just to name a few examples) are extraordinary.
After premiering at SXSW this past winter, some critics were quick to compare Baby Driver to La La Land, positioning it as some sort of anti-musical for the pop music adept. But Wright has done so much more than that, borrowing from the best moments of The Driver, Blues Brothers, Heat and more — not to mention his record collection — to create the most inventive movie of the summer, if not the year.