Baby Driver is the year’s best musical.

Okay, yeah, it’s a high-octane crime film and a heist thriller with breakneck car chase action that makes Fast and the Furious look like Driving Miss Daisy. But at heart, it’s powered by the playlists that wheelman Baby (Ansel Elgort) has created to fuel his getaways from heists planned by Doc (Kevin Spacey), the crime boss to whom Baby is in debt. A car crash that claimed Baby’s parents when he was a boy left him with tinnitus, and he uses the music to drown out “the hum in the drum.” He speaks softly and carries a big stick shift.

When Baby is able at last to pay off Doc, and then meets Debora (Lily James), a sweet and compassionate diner waitress that seems to exist only in the movies, he intends to leave his life of crime in the dust. But Doc considers Baby to be his good luck charm, and he’s not going to cut him loose, debt or no debt.

Behind the wheel of Baby Driver is Edgar Wright, director of the so-called Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End) and the cult favorite, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Along for the ride are Jon Hamm as Buddy and Jamie Foxx as the menacing Bats, two ruthless bank robbers on Doc’s crew. But the real star is the soundtrack. The songs drive the action, whether it’s the opening bank robbery getaway timed to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Bellbottoms” or Baby’s Travolta-esque strut to “Harlem Shuffle.” You’re going to want to take this one for a spin. To borrow the title of the classic song by the Damned, Baby Driver is “Neat, Neat, Neat.”

 

By: Redbox writer, Donald Liebenson