Edgar Wright directs Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm in this action romance about a puppyish getaway driver who lives his life to his IPod playlists.
The danger of high expectations. This is a perfectly diverting, accomplished bubblegum movie that wears it heart and manipulations out on its sleeves. But the central conceit of being in sync with a constant killer soundtrack is let down slightly by the music choices. There’s not enough toetappers in there. The familiar songs like Nowhere to Run and Harlem Shuffle feel TOO on the nose while obscurer tracks by Queen, Carla Thomas and The Damned don’t make you wanna run out and download them right away as the end credits roll. It is neither the old stellar jukebox selection of Guardians of the Galaxy nor the treasure trove of cool new jams that say Pulp Fiction was. Sadly given the concept it needs to be. As if you aren’t clicking along to the music it distracts from the cartoonish car stunt work that are a slave to those selected rhythms. There’s still lots of colourful pleasure to be had here, with none of the cast exactly ending up where you expect them to be by the end. Hamm gets some lovely dark moments, Spacey is always persuasive good value and Lily James’ innocent love interest is a sweet treat. I actually enjoyed the brutal finale which culminates in a game of siren-lit hide and seek in a multi storey car park but the stand out sequence is, jarringly for a petrolhead movie, a foot chase. Wright is at his heavily storyboarded barney best when Baby ejects from being Steve McQueen behind the wheel thus turning into Crash Bandicoot through Atlanta. Baby Driver is a fine one watcher but unlike say Drive, a modern classic that shares a lot of the plot, spirit, cool and intention, I didn’t feel any rush to leap back into the passenger seat again for a return journey.