Music sounds better when you’re on the road. In ‘Baby Driver’, ‘Shaun of the Dead’ director Edgar Wright takes the car-chase action film – loaded with tyre squeals – and weds it to a cracking jukebox playlist. The result is the most supercharged piece of motorised choreography since John Landis destroyed a fleet of cop cars in ‘The Blues Brothers’.
Wright’s hero, Baby (‘The Fault in Our Stars’ actor Ansel Elgort), still has a hint of peach fuzz on his cheeks, but he’s a genius with a gearstick. A getaway driver with dreams of going straight, Baby needs music to drown out the tinnitus-induced buzz in his head. Unlike the more violent and existential vehicular visions seen in ‘Drive’ or ‘Bullitt’, ‘Baby Driver’ is sweet fantasy.
That means its two-bit thieves and criminal masterminds (Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey) are enjoyably cartoonish; the same goes for Baby’s waitress crush, Debora (Lily James), the kind of broad-smiling cutie that filmmakers always seem to dream about. Their romance is nourished with doe-eyed looks and Beach Boys-scored dreaminess, but the movie doesn’t know what to do with it, except hatch a plan to ‘head west and never stop’.
The chances are you won’t mind: the action sequences here, imbued with humour and break-on-a-dime timing, are the most beautifully sustained and jaw-dropping of Wright’s career. You’ll be rewinding them in your head for days.