Director Edgar Wright is known for his playing with genres, usually via comedy. He has tackled action films through Hot Fuzz, horror through Shaun of the Dead and Sci-Fi with The World’s End. He was long attached to Marvel’s Ant Man (going back before anything called the Marvel Cinematic Universe existed) and instead adapted the indie comic Scott Pilgrim Vs the World.
Here Wright has made a noir heist film. Unlike previous efforts, he plays this film straight. Baby is a skilled getaway driver. He is working off a debt to the enigmatic Doc. Doc is hired to put together teams for heists. Baby has met a beautiful young waitress named Deborah. Baby’s plan is to do a final job and be done with his debt.
Baby is quiet, rarely speaking, and usually just listening to music through his headphones. According to Doc, he suffered an injury to his ears and the music helps him focus on his purpose as a driver.
Baby finds himself forced to do another job for Doc, which ends up going bad. Baby then must find a way to save Deborah and himself and get out from under Doc’s thumb.
Keeping it simple, Wright builds everything around impressive car chases and catchy rock and soul music. The characterization is light, especially in the case of the women. Deborah is the virginal love interest, while Darling is the sexy femme fatale. John Hamm’s Buddy is the character with the most depth, but that is only because he appears to have a bit of diversity to his personality.
Though the characters are not really deep, this serves the the narrative. We don’t need complex characters or motivations, and they would really bog the film down. Instead, Baby Driver is a fun thrill ride with cool driving stunts and a killer soundtrack.