Baby Driver – ***1/2 OUT OF 4
Directed by Edgar Wright, the filmmaker known for “Scott Pilgrim” and the cult comedy trifecta of “Shaun of the Dead”, “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End”, has finally perfected his style to the point where we must take him seriously as a major talent. Working with the purported budget of $34 million, Wright’s fable is precise and flawlessly executed. Its only downside might be the tendency for repetitious motifs but how can you castigate a film that delivers such a plethora of entertainment?
It features the up and coming actor known as Ansel Elgort (“The Fault in Our Stars”) as the eponymous Baby, a hearing impaired gangland driver with a touch of ADD and love of niche rock from the 80’s and 90’s like Golden Earrings’ “Radar Love” or The English Beat’s “Save It for Later”. His boss (Kevin Spacey) is always bullying him and we watch him fall in love with a waitress (Lily James) and drive like a maniac after Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Flea go on a crime spree.
Lensed in Atlanta by the great DP Bill Pope the title comes from a Simon & Garfunkel standard with a wonderful narrative editing job by Jonathan Amos\conveying a choreographed chaos. and a mesmerizing milieu. To create the illusion that Baby was driving Wright employed a stunt tool known in the trade as a “biscuit”, a trailer that moves the getaway car at racing speed allowing the actual driver to be positioned off screen.
Rather than relying on greenscreen, Wright made the bold move of employing the finest stunt drivers in the world led by stunt coordinator Jeremy Fry of “Jason Bourne” fame, “Baby Driver” delivers a dazzling array of thrills that make it one of the big hits of a lackluster summer at the US box office.