Baby has been a getaway driver for gang boss Doc since he made the mistake of stealing Doc’s Mercedes when he was an underage joyrider. He drowns out the tinnitus that he suffers as a result of a childhood car accident with the sound of his favourite tunes on one of his collection of iPods. When he meets waitress Deborah, he sees the chance of a better life, but Doc has one last job for his driver.
When I saw the first trailers for this film, I thought it was surely made for an exclusive audience of speed-freak teenagers. I was wrong. I’m sure they will love it, but so will anybody else who is happy to sit back and be taken on a handbrake-turn journey that incorporates action, violence, love and the Great American Dream of just heading down the highway and leaving all your troubles behind.
The result is a hugely entertaining movie made for the summer.
In the lead role, relative newcomer Ansel Elgort delivers a performance that is quiet and contained – until he gets behind the wheel.
The support cast is revved up on quality. Kevin Spacey’s Doc is like the type of self-contained neighbour who is punctiliously polite, but turns out to be a serial killer on the side. Jon Hamm captures Buddy’s sleazy undertow of barely contained instability, while Jamie Foxx displays his huge screen presence as the psychopathic Bats.
The film is not without its faults. Lily James’s waitress character is nothing more than a cypher, and there’s a no-no moment near the end of the film, when Doc does something sufficiently out of character to be unbelievable.
And, apart from the idea of a getaway driver who is so attached to his music that he will even delay his getaway until he finds just the right track, the film is filled with familiar heist/gangster movie tropes (e.g.: the cash-stuffed sports bags, the gang’s latex face masks, the waitress with the heart of gold, the conflicted hero, the repressed gang boss).
But enough of the flaws: this is a superbly choreographed match-up of a brilliant soundtrack and incredible driving stunts.
Cast: Ansel Elgort (Baby), Kevin Spacey (Doc), Lily James (Deborah), John Bernthal (Griff), Elza Gonzalez (Darling), Jon Hamm (buddy), Jamie Foxx (Bats).
Director: Edgar Wright