In 2011 a resident of Oakland, Michigan, caused a sensation by bringing a lawsuit against Nicolas Winding Refn’s film Drive for not having enough actual pedal-to-the-metal driving in it. That same person could hardly do the same to Edgar Wright, the director of this outrageously enjoyable petrolhead heist caper. The title of Baby Driver alludes to the extreme insouciant youth of its wheelman hero, played by Ansel Elgort, and a certain track that unspools over the closing credits. It is a terrifically stylish and exciting piece of work.
Elgort plays a brilliant teenage getaway driver working for Kevin Spacey’s equally deadpan Doc, a man who masterminds bank robberies with a
crew including the chiselled Buddy (Jon Hamm), badass Darling (Eiza González) and the scarily unstable Bats (Jamie Foxx). Baby needs continuous music from his range of antique iPods to give him inspiration, miming along to the track while he chucks his car around in breathtaking stunts. It’s also because he suffers from tinnitus and needs the music to drown out the noise.
Baby is a guy with unhappy memories, revealed in flashback montages. He is not really a criminal – his brilliance at driving and obsession with music stem from an early-years trauma – and is being forced by Doc to perform these robberies. But then Baby meets and falls in love with a waitress at a diner where his late mother used to work, and this is Debora, winningly played by Lily James.
It’s such a funny and engaging film, packed with sheer brio and good nature. What a rush.