9 Mike Myers Masks out of 10
The thing about Edgar Wright is he’s constantly trying to find a way to make a scene more engaging. This can be seen prominently in his distinctive use of quick cuts, often as entertaining way to power through establishing shots or mundane moments. But it’s nowhere near limited to that, and it really pervades the full body of his work. And honestly, I don’t think he’s ever done a better job of it than with his latest film “Baby Driver.” It’s simply the most entertaining film I’ve seen in a while, it has great action, great moments of comedy, and great drama. Frankly, it’s got everything I want out of a movie, and it’s all covered in Edgar Wright’s stylistic thumbprints.
The film follows the getaway car driver named Baby played Ansel Elgort (yup, that’s his real name) as he tries to escape the life of crime he’s been trapped in. “Baby Driver” is an excellent example on how to handle a strong cast. Elgort himself is great in his action sequences, and excellent outside of them, but the impressive thing about his performance is how much chemistry he has with his love interest actress Lily James. The two of them are great on screen together, and when she’s inevitably threatened, it adds real weight to the scene. However, while he’s advancing the plot, the rest of the cast is freed up to be entertaining. Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx all fill out the incredibly engaging supporting cast. Kevin Spacey is great largely because he’s Kevin Spacey, the intelligent villainous mastermind role is well within his wheelhouse and it shows. Foxx and Hamm both play intimidating criminals, and they play them well, but it’s the way that their roles take advantage of their individual talents that makes them memorable. Other actors could have brought the same weight to Foxx’s role, but I don’t think many could have bounced between intimidation and comedy with the same ease. More so than even Hamm, Foxx has a lot of fun with his character. Hamm’s role, on the other hand, takes advantage of how likable he is. Combined with him being in the presence of Foxx’s borderline psychotic character, it makes it possible for viewers to forget that he’s a professional criminal, which eventually becomes important. The great thing about “Baby Driver’s” handling of its cast is that it has all these interesting secondary characters that get developed over the course of the film, but they never detract from the films focus on its protagonist, Baby. The film simply handles its excellent cast excellently.
Aside from the cast, the other thing I really enjoyed about “Baby Driver” was the commanding role that music played in the film. There are plot reasons why there’s music constantly playing, but really I think it’s just a clever excuse for Wright to let loose stylistically. Some of the most engaging scenes in the film are halfway to being dance numbers, and most of them are of otherwise mundane activities. It’s an incredibly entertaining expression of Wright’s style, and the music of “Baby Driver” ends up being a huge part of what makes the film work.