'Baby Driver' is the thrill ride of the summer

Baby (ANSEL ELGORT) charms Debora as she works in TriStar Pictures’ BABY DRIVER.

Baby Driver
4 out of 5 Stars
Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm
Genre: Action, Crime
Rated: R

Synopsis: A talented young driver is forced to work as a getaway man for a crime lord.

Review: Over the course of his career director/writer Edgar Wright has quietly become a critical darling. This is partly because many critics identify with Wright and his frequent collaborator Simon Pegg. Both present themselves as rabid movie fans who are talented and lucky enough to work in an industry they love.

That love is apparent in Wright’s latest film, “Baby Driver,” a movie bursting at the seams with music, action, wit and a group of actors who are clearly having nearly as much fun in making the film as Wright is.

The movie features an impressive cast that includes Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacy, Eiza Gonzalez and Lily James. All go full tilt with their performances, adding an extra boost to the film’s already kinetic pace.

Like the films of Quinten Tarantino, Wright uses a sense of nostalgia to provide atmosphere, but whereas Tarantino tends to inject an undercurrent of cruelty, Wright is far more wistful and this allows the final act, which is filled with carnage, to end on a much different note than “True Romance” or “Reservoir Dogs” ever could have pulled off.

The film’s plot isn’t all that unique in that it features a young man who wants to escape his life of crime to enjoy the simpler and traditional aspects of life. Of course he knows too much to simply walk away, so he is forced to consider extreme options to get away from those who worry that his abandoning of his previous life will lead him to expose his former associates. However, the delivery is original in that Wright sets almost the entire film to various songs ranging from the early punk to classic rap. The strange mix of genres works well. In fact, the use of popular songs in “Baby Driver” is far more effective than both “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Despicable Me 3.” Then again, I might just be partial to any film that includes The Damned on its soundtrack.

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