Baby Driver: Eccentricity on full throttle

Carved out of a traditional Hollywood trope, Baby Driver is refreshingly edgy and wildly entertaining

If your first exposure to this Edgar Wright film is its title, then you would probably be wondering if it’s a two decade late sequel to Baby’s Day Out (1994) or one too quick of Boss Baby (2017) (either way, it ought to be a slapstick comedy with a baby in it). But once you give this film a shot – irrespective of its misleading title – you’ll find yourself drawn irrevocably into a thriller that’s carved out of classic Hollywood charm. But Baby Driver is a refreshingly young and edgy narrative of a universally loved motif: the struggle of an underdog.

Music is at the core of Baby Drive. The film not just introduces you to some groovy tracks (if you Shazam your way through this one, it could be a rewarding experience) but also explores the rhythms in gun shots, grenade blasts, bolting cars and police chases. For the film’s protagonist, Baby (Ansel Elgort), music is not just therapeutic and motivational, but also an obsession. The film, in several ways, is about various obsessions – of money, love, revenge and music. Wright’s style of filmmaking aligns with its characters’ insanity and absurdity, making the film seems like an experience similar to a sugar rush. But be prepared for a massive glucose crash once the curtains fall.

  • Director: Edgar Wright
  • Cast: Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Eiza González, Lily James, CJ Jones, Jamie Foxx
  • Story line: A young getaway driver, who dreams of eloping with a waitress, is forced into taking part in a heist that’s doomed to fail

For a movie centred around car chases and hot pursuits, it’s imperative to be deeply invested in the motivations of the protagonist. Baby Driver excels in that department by convincingly fleshing out – and constantly revisiting – Baby’s back story. He survived a car accident as a child but lost his mother, who was a singer and a victim of domestic abuse. Now as an adult, Baby has earphones plugged in perpetually, makes hilarious yet creepy mixtapes by recording everyday conversations, and falls in love with a waitress, Debora (Lily James), who reminds him of his mum. His plan to break free from the past and the clutches of an evil mastermind (Kevin Spacey) is to elope with Debora, but not before he is forced into one last crime.

Wright layers Baby Driver with the same dose of teenage eccentricity and quirkiness as he did with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), but this time cloaks his British sensibilities with everything Hollywood, including classic American diners, cars and humour. The casting of the villainous characters is spot on with impeccable performances by Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx, who bite into their meaty roles like hungry sharks. Ansel Elgort, known best for playing the terminally-ill boy in The Fault in Our Stars (2014), essays Baby with appropriate amount of teenage angst and reticence.

For every adult, who has been bullied or intimidated as a teen or a kid, and has found recourse (and make-believe superpowers) in a parallel and wild world of fast cars and imaginary races, this movie will be as much of an escapist affair as it is for its protagonist.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 7:24:42 PM |

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