With just six films under his belt, Edgar Wright is already one of the most sought after and prolific directors of the new millennium. The Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and At World’s End) is utterly superb and was able to bring a fresh class of dark comedy to American audiences. The action in each was clever though was able to remain conservative and rely on the humour to be the driving factor throughout. In 2010, Wright decided to take a whack at a critically acclaimed graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The outcome was one of the funniest, thrilling, hilarious, and stylized films of past few decades; and the result of this was a disastrous financial catastrophe that left the film sitting with a gross that was ½ it’s budget. Four years on from his last effort, and Edgar Wright’s newest feature is unquestionably worth the wait. I’ll save the fancy vocabulary and cinema-related jargon that I usually use to describe a film and just say this: unless something else comes along that shatters all expectancies, I don’t see a way in which this film isn’t sitting at number one on my top ten of the year.
According to IMDb, the plot is as follows, “After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.” The cast is one to admire, a group of incredible actors that only a director as prosperous as Wright could summon. Ansel Elgort (The Fault in our Stars) plays the title character while a plethora of thespians including Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Jamie Foxx (Ray), Lily Collins (Cinderella), and Jon Bernthal (Sicario). No acting nominations will arise from this film come award season, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t marvelous and don’t deserve admiration. The only way Wright’s comedy can work is when his actors are able to maintain a level of solemnity that helps support the laughs; something the actors in Baby Driver achieve flawlessly.
As amazing as it was, and as strewn with Wright’s signature polish as it was, this is probably his film with the least amount of comedy. Not that the jokes that are present don’t hit, just that there’s less of them. The film isn’t a comedy, to its defense. It’s an action film, first and foremost and just coincidentally has laughs throughout.
There’s scenes involving cars in this film that blow any stunt in the Fast and the Furious franchise completely out of the water. It’s not about how big your explosion is or how much you paid the actor to execute it; it’s about how much passion you have to film said explosion. You can tell how much Edgar Wright cared for this film. The script’s meticulous, the timing is superb, and every shot and cut and scene feels like someone spent every hour of their day getting it just (W)right.
If this film doesn’t get an Oscar nomination for best editing I will boycott every Academy Awards from there on out. First off, there’s a oner in this movie that is something Inarritu (director of Birdman: Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) would have had trouble filming. Second off, there’s a whole shootout where the guns are timed to the beat of the music. That’s insane, right? Regardless of whether it was truly impressive or I was just intoxicated with the adrenaline on screen, it made a lasting impression on me and most people I’ve heard from.
I love this movie, but it does have flaws; I barely cared about Baby nor his love-interest towards the beginning of the film and Baby dancing around his house may have been a bit silly; but that’s just a testament to how incredible the rest of the film was. The good wasn’t good, it was perfect.
“I don’t see a way in which this film isn’t sitting at number one on my top ten of the year.”
Usually my excitement unfortunately will ruin a movie for me. When Nightcrawler was released the marketing was so spectacular that my expectations were too high, the film would never had been able to reach them. It was one of the best films of the year, but with no fault of its own was a bit of a disappointment because it wasn’t able to sustain the unreasonable hopes I placed on it. This may not be able to correlate to some, but I was more excited for Baby Driver than I was for that film, and those five stars below, those don’t have a drop of disappointment in them.