It takes a special kind of daring to take all the tried and tested elements of a heist caper and still come up with something fresh and entertaining. Writer-director Edgar Wright has achieved that with Baby Driver. The Baby of the title is an expert driver (a suitably baby-faced Ansel Elgort) who has somehow gotten mixed up with the criminal Doc (Kevin Spacey), who uses a different crew for each robbery, but always Baby as his getaway driver, believing him to be a lucky mascot. Baby thinks that he will be rid of Doc as soon as he has paid off what he owes, but of course, Doc has no intention of letting him go.
Baby has a quirk — he always has earphones on, the music helping him cope with tinnitus, the ear problem he got in an accident when he was a child. His parents were killed in it and he was raised by a deaf-mute black man (CJ Jones). The detailed backstory is probably meant to explain his silence. He only seems to speak when provoked.
The film begins with a superbly shot heist and getaway sequence. Baby drives like he were dancing in his head to a carefully chosen playlist, but is quite indifferent to the money Doc tosses at him...till he falls in love.
He meets a waitress, Deborah (Lily James) and is instantly attracted to her, mainly because of their shared taste in music. With her, he dreams of escape. Genre conventions state that the promised last robbery won’t put an end to Doc’s greed. He plans a risky heist and with the violent Bats (Jamie Foxx) on the crew, things go horribly wrong.
There is nothing new in the plot, but the stylishness of the director’s approach, the foot-tapping music, the sweetness of the romance and the Oscar-bait performance by Ansel Elgort make the film watchable.
Rating - 4/5