Summer can feel dominated by sequels and comic-book adaptations, which makes this original feature even cooler than it already is. And the genre-melding Baby Driver is really cool. La La Land better watch out; this heist film has already made off with a share of the former’s claim to cinematic musical greatness, and has eyes on the crown. The real star of the electrifying new action comedy from writer-director Edgar Wright (the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, plus Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is its eclectic soundtrack, featuring The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Damned, The Commodores, Martha and the Vandelles, Queen and way, way more.
All the music belongs to getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort, showing way more charisma and potential stardom than in his prior appearances in the Divergent series), who drowns out his tinnitus with loads of great songs while zipping through the crowded roadways of our state capital. (Lots of recent films have been shot in Atlanta, but Baby Driver is easily the most Atlanta of them all.) Wright drives that concept hard in the first two acts, creating an energetic, balletic film that is truly wondrous and unique. The exhilarating car chases are perfectly scored to Baby’s beats, and don’t miss the lyrical graffiti defacing the opening credits.
The last act can be forgiven for resorting to more generic formula as Baby attempts to escape his criminal cohorts—a cadre of stars brighter than Elgort, including Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey—with his girlfriend, Debora (Lily James; remember when she was Lady Rose on “Downton Abbey?”). Fast, fun and unique, Baby Driver is a summer ride worth catching.
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