Edgar Wright's Baby Driver is a remorselessly entertaining, impeccably assembled action-musical in which cars and people defy the laws of physics and common sense. They leap into gunfire and hop over hoods and careen down streets in perfect time to the beats of an unimpeachably cool soundtrack. It's all absurd but feels just right. And unlike, say, a Fast and Furious flick, Wright's movie delivers action that's convincing, concrete. This is the kind of pure pop confection that leaves you breathless with admiration for the director's supernatural command of his frame. But it might also leave you a little cold.
Wright's made a junior version of Walter Hill's gearhead classic, The Driver. Baby (Ansel Elgort), an introverted automotive savant who knows his music as well as his cars, works for Doc (Kevin Spacey), a smooth, calculating crime lord who plans immaculate heists that ultimately hinge on one key element: Baby's expertise behind the wheel. The assorted goons -- stickup men played with grimy glee by the likes of Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Jon Bernthal — are put off by our hero's aloof demeanor.
Baby Driver is an almost perfect pastiche, a thoroughly enjoyable object. But sue me, I kind of miss the losers of Wright's masterpieces Shaun of the Dead and The World's End. In those, you roar with approval not just for the filmmaking but for the triumph of little people finding their rhythm. In Baby Driver, by contrast, everybody is super-cool, and I'm not sure they ever quite come to life. Still, it's all so effective as demented action spectacle that I'll probably see it 10 more times.