A Good Guy Wins

Edgar Wright finally gets the validation we needed

Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Baby Driver
Now playing, wide
3.5 out of 5

Finally, the appeal of Edgar Wright’s work is reaching the masses. After four acclaimed-if-culty comedies (the Cornetto trilogy and Scott Pilgrim), Baby Driver is racking up the cash.

Why is the story of a getaway driver trying to escape a life of crime clicking with audiences? Well, let me tell you:

  1. IT’S FUN The dialogue, cinematography and soundtrack just pop. Wright has an uncanny ability to enhance a crackling script with a well-curated soundtrack and cherry-picked bits of pop culture.
  2. IT’S KINETIC Every movement in Baby Driver is masterfully calculated, from Baby strutting down the street to impossibly precise car stunts. The shots are continuous and easy to follow, something Michael Bay seems pathologically unable to do.
  3. IT LOOKS GOOD Wright’s regular cinematographer, Bill Pope (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), makes every frame count and creates some appealing compositions, none more than color-coordinated tumble-dryers.
  4. IT RESCUES KEVIN SPACEY, JAMIE FOXX AND JON HAMM FROM OBLIVION Not much has gone well for Foxx or Hamm in the last couple of years, and Kevin Spacey has become a parody of himself (see House of Cards). All three leave a mark as well-drawn characters portrayed with gusto.
  5. IT FEELS REAL Unlike preposterous blockbusters (*cough* Fate of the Furious *cough*), Baby Driver is low on CGI and high on practical effects. Even at a subconscious level, it registers.
  6. IT’S FRESH Even though the story of young lovers on the run is older than “Romeo and Juliet”, Ansel Elgort as the titular Baby and Lily James as his love interest are charming as heck. It helps that the actors are in the sweet spot between “unknown” and “on the verge of stardom”.
  7. FEELS LIKE REVENGE Pretty much everyone at this magazine has been rooting for Edgar Wright since his 2004 masterpiece Shaun Of The Dead. We’re still bitter that just when it felt like he’d finally hit the big time with Marvel’s Ant-Man, that movie was taken from him (and was doubtless worse for it). Baby Driver is Wright breaking through in his own terms. It’s great to see.❧