Calling any new film a “future cult classic” feels a bit off. After all, that kind of fanbase is meant to grow organically as movie buffs pore over key scenes and turn dialogue into memes. But this dazzling action flick from director Edgar Wright (Simon Pegg’s Hot Fuzz and Shaun Of The Dead collaborator) is destined to be obsessed over long after it’s left cinemas.
Wright’s film is steered by an antihero called Baby (The Fault In Our Stars’ Ansel Elgort), a diffident young guy from Atlanta who’s been blackmailed into working as a getaway driver for slick career criminal Doc (Kevin Spacey). Baby dreams of driving away for good with sweet local waitress Debora (Downton Abbey’s Lily James), but because he’s such a genius behind the wheel, Doc forces him to take on job after job.
This means having to share drive time with a motley crew of armed robbers including a thrill-seeking former Wall Street trader (Jon Hamm) and a manic, trigger-happy wacko (Jamie Foxx).
Blank-faced yet strangely charismatic, Baby is an unusual hero: after being involved in a car crash as a kid, he’s plagued by unbearable tinnitus, which he drowns out with a constant rock and soul din from his iPod. This clever conceit allows Wright to place the movie’s superb soundtrack centre stage: classic bangers like Martha And The Vandellas’ ‘Nowhere To Run’ and Queen’s ‘Brighton Rock’ heighten the film’s swaggering style.
Wright’s film also has some cracking black comedy and a surprisingly tender heart. A few surprises, too – Sky Ferreira briefly appears as Baby’s mum in some dreamy flashbacks. But its finest moments are the genuinely exhilarating car chases. Not only do they feel so much more realistic than anything Vin Diesel tried in the last Fast & Furious film, they’re also way more memorable.
Baby Driver is slightly diminished by its strung-out ending, but this hardly spoils the fun. Movie buffs will love playing spot the influence here – Wright has said the film actually evolved from an old Mint Royale music video he directed starring Noel Fielding. But everyone else can simply kick back and enjoy a very wild ride.