with Anselm Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, and Lily James.
I had often wondered what it would be like to live in the soundtrack inside your head as I passed people who never look up on the busy streets, their earbuds seeming to direct where they went. Baby Driver seems to answer my questions about that — since the title character, a driver named Baby, never wants to take his ear buds out even when he is driving dangerously fast, even when he is driving in reverse, fleeing the police.
It seems that Baby is in debt to a man named Doc (Kevin Spacey) who commandeers heists never with the same crew except for Baby, an exceptionally skilled driver. When he isn’t driving recklessly and effectively to carry the money away, and deliver it to Doc, Baby lives with his foster father, an elderly deaf black man who worries about the legality of Baby’s business. The back story has to do with Baby’s parents fighting in a car at the moment of impact that killed them both, leaving the boy in the back seat slightly scarred, and perhaps brain damaged, or a little compromised in the hearing department.
Anselm Elgort played the sad tragic romantic lead in A Fault in Our Stars, and showed himself to be utterly charming, and captivating to the camera. His simple deadpan straightforwardness as he faces us spectators is almost like a dare to the audience not to sympathize with him. He brings us back to the importance of relating to characters who might be like us. Surely, we can relate to a boy who lost his parents very young and then became beholden to a villain.
But Baby Driver is not a character study so much as a series of excellent car chases, punctuated by a love story, and bordered with some excellent character acting by Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez (looking like Salma Hayek did 20 years ago, and giving off the same wise ass attitude). The heists are rarely believable, the car chases beyond brilliant, but the music that carries the movie along is the reason to go. I think that Wright started out wanting an exciting video game like experience, then found the lovers irresistible, and finally had to give them a soundtrack worthy of them.