If you’re planning a robbery and want to be sure of a fast getaway, Baby (Ansel Elgort) is your man.
With earbuds in place and tuned into his personal soundtrack, he can be relied upon to steer clear of the cops and get you to your destination with cash — or whatever else you may have stolen — intact. And chances are he won’t even attempt to make small talk. That would only interrupt his flow.
Although Baby is unsurpassed as a driver, he’s eager to abandon his life of crime. He wouldn’t even be behind the wheel if he wasn’t in hock to Doc (Kevin Spacey), who calls the shots for the robberies and is meticulous in his attention to detail. Doc respects Baby’s vehicular mastery and considers him an invaluable asset, but he isn’t above resorting to threats to get what he wants.
Baby’s unconventional occupation puts him in the company of Bats (Jamie Foxx) and Buddy (Jon Hamm), hardcore criminals who both regard him as something of a curiosity. So does Debora (Lily James), an enchantingly cheerful waitress whom Baby would like to get to know a lot better.
Can he go straight and hit the road with Debora? Or will he remain under Doc’s thumb?
“Baby Driver” zooms onto the screen with an exhilarating combination of smarts and style. Written and directed by the marvelously inventive Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”), it’s the kind of action-comedy that makes you want to see it again a second after it’s over.
Elgort (“The Fault in Our Stars”) exudes movie-star charisma as a reluctant criminal who’s in need of an exit strategy. James registers strongly without leaning on dream-girl clichés. Spacey deftly balances amiability and malevolence. Foxx fully commits to his unhinged character. And Hamm delivers a delightful portrait of a madman.
Will “Baby Driver” change the way you look at life? Not likely. But the time is just right for a revved-up and freewheeling film like this.
What “Baby Driver” • Four stars out of four • Rating R • Content Violence and language • Run time 1:53