It’s not easy to get into Baby’s head.
There’s so much going on in there already. Besides, the entrance is blocked by the tiny white earbuds that carry the tunes from his array of iPods, chosen for the mood of the moments of his life.
And, oh what a life this is for the young wheel man in this exciting drama written and directed by Edgar Wright. We meet baby behind the wheel of a flashy red car departing a heist. He takes the crew away from the scene with maneuvers that obviously earn the slice of the pie divvied up later by the stoic off-scene brains of the operation.
Ansel Elgort plays Baby as one cool customer in many ways, seemingly hip to the flavors of the street and ways of this shady life.
There’s more to it all, and Wright deliciously unwraps the ways of this kid and his story layer by layer, through flashbacks of his mother and her voice in development, present home scenes of a silent man in a wheelchair whose care is in Baby’s hands, and a diner encounter with a radiant waitress by the name of Debora who enchants her way into his heart.
These are the things that make Baby tick, but it’s his relationship with crime boss Doc that make him tock.
Kevin Spacey plays Doc as a wily spider engrossed on total control of his web. But of course these spiders are much more evil than Baby and more apt to act out. Jon Hamm and Eliza Gonzalez make for an enticing Bonnie and Clyde, and Jamie Foxx sends big chills with his bad intent.
But it’s Elgort who’s the most winning, saying so much in a part that affords him hardly a smile but plenty of emotion nevertheless, especially with his work with Lily James as the winning Debora and CJ Jones as the worrying Joseph.
The violence is a bit too much, yes.
The soundtrack is terrific, indeed.
Baby Driver did send thoughts of Pulp Fiction dancing in my head now and again. That’s a good thing as long as it’s a nod-to and not a rip-off.
As I filed out of the almost-empty theater for the 11:40 a.m. show at the Glenwood Cinema in Oneida, I hoped for more miles on different roads to come for that baby driver who’d hooked me.