Creating one of his most exciting and box office friendly feature yet, Edgar Wright brings those quick cuts and elegant transitions to his version of a car heist film. Starring Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Eiza González, Jamie Fox, Lily James, and Kevin Spacey, Baby (Elgort) is a getaway driver for a crime boss who won’t let him break away from the life. It’s when Baby drives he’s at his best as he goes through life with a literal ringing in his ear which requires him to listen to music almost 24/7 in order to drown it out. With that music comes some of the most brilliant usage of cool tunes I’ve seen in a film that I’d say rivals Guardians of the Galaxy for original usage of the music.
Wright is famous for making quippy, cult classic comedies such as the Cornetto trilogy and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, but this seems to be his most grounded work in comparison to previous films which ends up working out well for everyone including the audience. The usage of certain songs work for transitioning the mood of scene while also being the beat that the action marches too. Wright and his editors manage to create a fun shoot-em-up as well as a killer car chase movie as they shift us into different gears.
While the plot seems simple, it’s the execution of it all that makes you feel like you’re watching something for the first time, which you probably are. This was shared the best traits of Drive and The Fast and Furious franchise while making sure to still separate itself from both films entirely. Elgort’s Baby is a stoic, youthful character who seems to always be calm under pressure even as he falls in love with a waitress (Lily James) named Debora. Their journey to escape their lives lead to some of the best action scenes of the year while also concluding with what feels like a refreshing and original take on the finale of films.
As far as the other big name actors in this movie? They’re amazing. Everyone involved has done work that I have loved in the past and Wright gets the best out of them like a great director does. Jamie Foxx failed miserably as Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but he’s absolutely menacing this time around. Normally the funny, goofy, and always charismatic actor, Foxx pulls from somewhere I personally haven’t seen before which was absolutely enthralling to watch, but not because it was over the top, but because it felt like it was real. The scenes between, Baby, Darling (Gonzalez), Bats (Foxx), and Buddy (Hamm) are some of the best scenes in the movie because they brought an element of tension and unpredictability.
I know the studio wants a sequel to this project and I could see where the story could go, but at the same time, I don’t really want the film to break away from it’s small budget vibe only to get lost into the madness that are studio lit sequels. Sure, it could go in the direction of John Wick or 21 Jump Street and deliver sequels that enrich the world we’ve been given, but is that a risk we need to see? It wouldn’t be a risk if Wright decided to make the sequel and wanted to make the sequel, but for now we should just be happy there’s some originality in our summer movies again and enjoy this moment before it peels off onto open road without a means of stopping it.