Go see it. Go see it now.
Fine, fine, I’ll say something.
Substantially more earnest than Edgar Wright’s usual fair, where the Cornetto trilogy expertly lampoons and professes love to a variety of genres, this one plays it straight. That is not to say it has lost the wit, cleverness, and extreme attention to detail that is Mr. Wright’s trademark.
No real need to discuss the story, if you’ve seen the trailer (or other movies in this genre) you know the score. “Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in!” But like every good heist movie, the cast is where it’s at. Spacey is like a delicious combination of Frank Underwood and Bobby Darrin, Foxx is fantastically unhinged, Hamm and Gonzalez make a fantastic pair of thrill-seeking hedonists. Elgort and James are the two rolls that I think could either strike the perfect cord or possibly fall flat, depending on who you are. Lily James in this is the embodiment of ‘that girl back home’ or the doll at the diner who brings you your pie and coffee. She seems out of time in this role, and honestly, that’s probably the point. We see her as Baby sees her, and damn does she pull it off. Ansel Elgort rocks the roll of the reluctant hero, and is stoic enough to hit all the right buttons to be the audience insert, with one exception. His ‘everything is music’ vibe could fall flat for people who don’t experience it that way. If you’re the type of person that will hear a single sentence or the tiniest of tones and immediately have a song pop into your head, the type to dance and sing along to the music no matter how it looks, even if other people can’t hear it, you’ll click with this protagonist almost instantly.
Alright, I don’t think I’ve brought this up in one of these before, but goddamn that sound design. The audio work in this is probably one of the best I have heard in cinema, period. This is where you get way more into Edgar Wright’s style. This takes the ‘music playing a part even in the world’ you see in films like Guardians to a ridiculous extreme. Baby has a soundtrack for life, and we get to listen in. Music is Baby’s real dialogue, and it’s goddamn amazing. Action scenes are expertly synced up to the soundtrack, and music fades, shifts, and changes depending on where it’s coming from (The car, Baby’s headphones, only one earbud in, large open speakers etc.) The soundtrack is goddamn excellent, to boot. Definitely check it out. I’d keep rambling on how unbelievably well done it all is, but it’s hard to put into words and is just easier to see/hear for yourself.
The camera work is every bit up to Wright’s standards. Sweeping and moving smoothly when needed, and even when it gets frantic you never lose track of what’s going on.
Wright continues to be the king of meticulously placed foreshadowing, top notch writing, the perfect use of tension and brevity, and clearly loves both what he does and the genres he works in. Baby Drive is not as gut-bustingly funny as the Cornetto Trilogy or Scott Pilgrim, but it doesn’t need to be.
Full disclosure, I AM one of those people that lives music. There’s always a song in my head, I will sing and dance along no matter what the situation, the tiniest thing will call back a song. As such, this movie just clicked. If that’s you, too, then you’ll feel it too. Don’t think I’ve seen another movie GET it like this one.
That said, if you’re a fan of heist movies, cars, music, good comedy, good action, or Edgar Wright in general, go see this movie as soon as possible. If you’re a fan of multiple entries in this list, see it yesterday.
All said and done, The World’s End is still my absolute favorite Edgar Wright film, but this one looks to have solidly taken second.
I’d give it a 9/10 overall. It’s not perfection, but it comes pretty damn close.