Baby Driver Review

Wow, what a ride. Baby Driver is one of those movies that truly defies description and genre pigeonholing. It’s a pulsating, frenetic, stylish, clever, violent, romantic, heartbreaking, hopeful, tense, and witty action-drama-crime-heist movie with car chases, crashes, gunfights, double-crosses, stellar performances, and a soundtrack that is a character in and of itself. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Baby Driver rev a few engines when the next awards-season rolls around – for editing, direction, cinematography, and possibly even for lead actor Ansel Elgort, best known among the YA crowd for his roles in The Fault in Our Stars and the Divergent series. Elgort nails it as Baby, an innocent-looking getaway driver eager to pay off a debt and get out of the crime business – especially after he meets his soulmate, Debora (Lily James, Downton Abbey, Cinderella) a waitress in the local diner where his mother used to work.

Baby Driver takes place in Atlanta, where the intersecting highways known as “Spaghetti Junction” can be a challenge under the best of circumstances. But Baby is fearless behind the wheel, especially when he’s got his signature sunglasses and earbuds in place (for reasons that I won’t reveal here). Baby goes deep inside his head when he drives – negotiating hairpin curves, shifting gears, and evading cops while listening to his own personal soundtrack. Music drives Baby in every aspect of his life.

Baby is basically a good kid surrounded by hardened criminals led by “Doc” (Kevin Spacey), the mastermind behind a series of well-orchestrated heists, the last of which does NOT go according to plan.The supporting cast of bad guys includes Jon Hamm and Eiza Gonzalez as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde and Jamie Foxx as an impulsive gunslinger named ‘Bats.’

Writer/Director Edgar Wright (Shawn of the Dead, The World’s End, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) delivers a geniusly-choreographed sensory experience with enough twists and turns – on and off the road – to keep you engaged from beginning to end. The less you know going into the movie, the better the ride will be. So try and avoid the trailer, and check out this soundtrack instead:

BABY DRIVER SOUNDTRACK:

1. Bellbottoms – Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
2. Harlem Shuffle – Bob & Earl
3. Egyptian Reggae – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
4. Smokey Joe’s La La – Googie Rene
5. Let’s Go Away For Awhile – The Beach Boys
6. B-A-B-Y – Carla Thomas
7. Kashmere – Kashmere Stage Band
8. Unsquare Dance – Dave Brubeck
9. Neat Neat Neat – The Damned
10. Easy (Single Version) – The Commodores
11. Debora – T. Rex
12. Debra – Beck
13. Bongolia – Incredible Bongo Band
14. Baby Let Me Take You (in My Arms) – The Detroit Emeralds
15. Early In The Morning – Alexis Korner
16. The Edge – David McCallum
17. Nowhere To Run – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
18. Tequila – The Button Down Brass
19. When Something Is Wrong With My Baby – Sam & Dave
20. Every Little Bit Hurts – Brenda Holloway
21. Intermission – Blur
22. Hocus Pocus (Original Single Version) – Focus
23. Radar Love (1973 Single Edit) – Golden Earring
24. Never, Never Gone Give Ya Up – Barry White
25. Know How – Young MC
26. Brighton Rock – Queen
27. Easy – Sky Ferreira
28. Baby Driver – Simon & Garfunkel
29. Was He Slow (Credit Roll Version) – Kid Koala

If you feel compelled to see the trailer, here it is:

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