Baby Driver is a 2017 action crime film written and directed by Edgar Wright. It stars Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Jon Bernthal. The plot follows Baby, a music lover who is coerced to work as a getaway driver for a kingpin (Spacey). The film features choreography in which the actors' actions synchronize with its soundtrack.
Baby Driver was conceived by Wright after he found inspiration from envisioning a post-heist car chase set to the 1994 song "Bellbottoms" by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, which would ultimately be used as the film's opening scene. It was co-produced by Working Title Films, Big Talk Productions and Media Rights Capital, and was distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures and by TriStar Pictures in the US. It premiered at South by Southwest on March 11, 2017, and was released theatrically on June 28, 2017.
The film received critical acclaim, with praise for its performances, screenplay, direction, soundtrack, and action sequences. It was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2017. The film grossed $226 million worldwide on a production budget of $34 million, making it Wright's highest-grossing film as director. The film received several awards and nominations, including three nominations for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing at the 90th Academy Awards, two nominations at the 23rd Critics' Choice Awards (winning one) and the 71st British Academy Film Awards (winning one) as well a Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy nomination for Elgort at the 75th Golden Globe Awards.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Edgar Wright|
|Written by||Edgar Wright|
|Music by||Steven Price|
|Box office||$226.9 million|
Baby is a getaway driver in Atlanta, Georgia. When he was a child, a car accident killed his parents and left him with tinnitus, which he blocks out by listening to music on his iPods. He ferries crews of robbers assembled by Doc, a heist mastermind, to pay off a debt he incurred after stealing one of Doc's cars. Between jobs, he creates remixes from snippets of conversations he records, and cares for his deaf foster father Joseph. At a diner, he meets a waitress, Debora, and they start dating.
Baby's next robbery goes awry after an armed bystander chases them down, but Baby evades him and the police. Having paid his debt, Baby quits his life of crime and starts delivering pizzas. While Baby is on a date with Debora, Doc insists he join a heist at a post office, threatening to hurt Debora and Joseph if he refuses.
The crew consists of easy-going Buddy, his sharpshooter wife Darling, and trigger-happy Bats, who takes an immediate dislike to Baby. While the crew attempts to purchase illegal arms for the job, Bats realizes the dealers are police and opens fire, killing most of them. Afterwards, Bats forces Baby to stop at Debora's diner, unaware of Baby and Debora's romance, and attempts kills her in a hold-up before Baby intervenes.
Doc, revealing that the dealers were cops on his payroll, is furious at the botched deal. He tries to cancel the heist, but Baby convinces him to go through with it. Baby attempts to flee later that night, hoping to take Debora and leave Atlanta. He is stopped by Buddy and Bats, who have discovered his recordings and believe he is an informant; when they and Doc hear his mixtapes, they are convinced of his innocence.
During the heist, Bats kills a security guard. Disgusted, Baby refuses to drive the crew, causing Bats to hit him. Baby rams the car into a rebar which impales Bats, killing him. The three flee the police on foot. After the police kills Darling in a shootout, Buddy blames Baby for her death, and vows to kill him. Baby steals another car and flees to his apartment. After leaving Joseph at an assisted living home, Baby drives to Debora's diner to pick her up, where he discovers Buddy waiting. Baby shoots Buddy and flees with Debora as the police close in.
Baby seeks help from Doc, who initially refuses to help as he blames Baby for ruining the heist. After seeing he truly loves Debora, Doc supplies them with cash and directions to get out of the country, stating that he was also in love once. The surviving cops from the botched arms deal confronts the three in the parking garage, but Doc kills them all. Buddy then ambushes them with a stolen police car and hits and kills Doc. A cat-and-mouse game ensues until Buddy has Baby at his mercy and shoots next to both his ears, deafening Baby. Debora disarms Buddy with a crowbar and Baby shoots him in the leg with his pistol, causing him to fall to his death.
Fleeing Atlanta, Baby and Debora run into a police roadblock. Debora prepares to ram it, but Baby stops her and surrenders, telling her she does not belong in the world of crime. At Baby's trial, Joseph, Debora, and several people Baby saved during the robberies testify in his defense. Baby is sentenced to twenty-five years in prison, with a parole hearing after five. He receives postcards from Debora, who promises to wait for him. Baby is eventually released and finds Debora waiting, and they kiss.
Filmmaker Walter Hill makes a vocal cameo appearance as a courtroom interpreter during Baby's trial hearing near the end of the film. Wright has cited Hill's 1978 film The Driver as a major inspiration for Baby Driver.
Writer-director Edgar Wright conceived Baby Driver in 1995, while living in North London, after listening to the song "Bellbottoms" by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Wright envisioned a bank robbery and car chase set to the song, which became the first scene of the film. He adapted the first opening he conceived for the film into a 2003 music video he directed for Mint Royale's "Blue Song", starring Noel Fielding as a music-loving getaway driver for a group of bank robbers. A clip of the music video is shown briefly in Baby Driver as the main character flips between television channels. Other inspirations for the film came from the films Straight Time, Point Break, Reservoir Dogs and Heat.
The film was announced in July 2014. By January 2015 it was reported that Ansel Elgort was in talks to star. Elgort's audition required him to lip sync and dance to the song of his choosing. Elgort chose "Easy" by The Commodores which resonated with Wright to the point where he would include the song in the movie.
Emma Stone and Michael Douglas were also rumoured to be in the cast. On May 7, 2015, Lily James was reported to be in talks to be the female lead, a waitress and Elgort's character's love interest.
Jamie Foxx was reported to be in talks to join the film on September 8, 2015. On October 20, 2015, Jon Hamm signed on to play one of the villains, a former Wall Street trader turned member of the gang. On November 3, 2015, it was announced that Kevin Spacey had been cast as a veteran criminal and the boss of the crew. On December 16, 2015, Eiza González joined the film to play one of the bank robbers—the wife of Hamm's character. Jon Bernthal was cast as Griff, another one of the gang, on February 23, 2016.
In August 2015, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that the film would be released on March 17, 2017. It was briefly pushed back to August 11, 2017 before a final date of June 28, 2017 was settled on. Baby Driver had its world premiere at the South by Southwest film festival on March 11, 2017. On the weekend of August 25, the film was re-released in 1,074 theaters.
Baby Driver was released on Digital Media on September 12, 2017, and on 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray & DVD October 10, 2017, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film debuted at No. 2 on both the NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Baby Driver grossed $107.8 million in the United States and Canada and $119.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $226.9 million, against a production budget of $34 million.
In North America, Baby Driver was initially projected to gross $12–20 million from 3,150 theaters over its first five days, with the possibility to earn more due to strong reviews. The film made $5.7 million on its first day (including $2.1 million from Tuesday-night previews) and $3.3 million on Thursday. It made $6 million on Friday, increasing five-day projections to $27 million. It ended up opening to $21 million (and a five-day total of $30 million), finishing second behind another new release, Despicable Me 3 ($72.4 million). This marked the biggest American debut of Wright's career, doubling the $10.6 million opening of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in 2010. In its second weekend, Baby Driver grossed $13 million (a drop of 36.7%), finishing third at the box office; in its third weekend, the film made $8.8 million, finishing fourth. The film was re-released into 1,074 theaters on August 25 and made $1.2 million, up 34% from the previous week.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 93% based on 310 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Stylish, exciting, and fueled by a killer soundtrack, Baby Driver hits the road and it's gone—proving fast-paced action movies can be smartly written without sacrificing thrills." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 86 out of 100, based on 52 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.
Peter Debruge of Variety called the film "a blast, featuring wall-to-wall music and a surfeit of inspired ideas". The New York Times' Manohla Dargis listed the film as a "NYT Critic’s Pick", writing that the film "is so good that you want it to be better and go deeper, for it to put down its guns (or at least hold them differently) and transcend its clichés and cine-quotes so it can rocket out of the genre safe box into the cosmic beyond where craft and technique transform into art". Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film five out of five stars, listing it as his "film of the week" and calling it an "outrageously enjoyable petrolhead heist caper".
CNN's Brian Lowry wrote that the film "is a crackling-good ride, one that organically weaves music and humor into a slick showcase for its cast. Despite a few plotholes toward the end, writer-director Edgar Wright's stylish thriller consistently clicks on all cylinders". Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars, and called it "fluid and jaw-dropping—the kind of thing you want to see immediately again after it's over to catch all the things you missed". Empire's Terri White gave the film five out of five stars, calling it an "awe-inspiring piece of filmmaking" and "one of the most utterly original films in years".
However, there were several less positive reviews. Rating Baby Driver three out of five stars, Joyce Slaton of Common Sense Media praised the driving sequences and music, but felt that the film "quickly slump[s] into stereotypes" and "fails to grab viewers on a visceral level", particularly criticizing Baby's backstory and the portrayal of Debora and Darling. In a dismissive review, Richard Brody of The New Yorker cited many flaws, calling it "an imitation of generation’s worth of imitations."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Academy Awards||March 4, 2018||Best Sound Editing||Julian Slater||Pending|||
|Best Sound Mixing||Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater||Pending|
|Best Film Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Pending|
|Alliance of Women Film Journalists||January 9, 2018||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|||
|American Cinema Editors||January 26, 2018||Best Edited Feature Film – Comedy or Musical||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|||
|British Academy Film Awards||February 18, 2018||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
|Best Sound||Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater||Pending|
|Casting Society of America||January 18, 2018||Big Budget – Drama||Francine Maisler and Meagan Lewis||Nominated|||
|Chicago Film Critics Association||December 12, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
|Cinema Audio Society Awards||February 24, 2018||Motion Picture — Live Action||Mark Appleby, Tim Cavagin, Gareth Cousins, Mary H. Ellis, Glen Gathard and Julian Slater||Pending|||
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||January 11, 2018||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
|Best Action Movie||Baby Driver||Nominated|
|Detroit Film Critics Society||December 7, 2017||Best Use of Music||Baby Driver||Won|||
|Empire Awards||March 18, 2018||Best Director||Edgar Wright||Pending||
|Best Male Newcomer||Ansel Elgort||Pending|
|Best Screenplay||Edgar Wright||Pending|
|Best Thriller||Baby Driver||Pending|
|Best Production Design||Baby Driver||Pending|
|Georgia Film Critics Association||January 12, 2018||Best Film||Baby Driver||Nominated|||
|Best Director||Edgar Wright||Nominated|
|Oglethorpe Award for Excellence in Georgia Cinema||Edgar Wright||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||January 7, 2018||Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Ansel Elgort||Nominated|||
|Golden Reel Awards||February 18, 2018||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Music Score||Julian Slater and Bradley Farmer||Pending|||
|Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Dialogue / ADR||Julian Slater and Dan Morgan||Pending|
|Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Effects / Foley||Julian Slater, Jeremy Price, Martin Cantwell, Arthur Graley, Rown Watson, Peter Hanson, Zoe Freed and Peter Burgis||Pending|
|Golden Tomato Awards||January 3, 2018||Best Wide Release 2017||Baby Driver||7th Place|||
|Best Action Movie 2017||Baby Driver||Won|
|IndieWire Critic's Poll||December 19, 2016||Most Anticipated of 2017||Baby Driver||Nominated|||
|London Film Critics' Circle||January 28, 2018||Technical Achievement Award||Darrin Prescott (stunts)||Nominated|||
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild||February 24, 2018||Feature Motion Picture: Best Contemporary Makeup||Fionagh Cush and Phyllis Temple||Pending|||
|National Board of Review||January 4, 2018||Top Ten Films||Baby Driver||Won|||
|New York Film Critics Online||December 10, 2017||Best Use of Music||Baby Driver||Won|||
|Online Film Critics Society||December 28, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Runner-up||
|San Diego Film Critics Society||December 11, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
|Best Use of Music||Baby Driver||Won|
|San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards||December 10, 2017||Best Film Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
|Satellite Awards||February 10, 2018||Best Film Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|||
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||January 21, 2018||Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture||Baby Driver||Nominated|||
|Seattle Film Critics Society||December 18, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Nominated|||
|St. Louis Film Critics Association||December 17, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
|Best Soundtrack||Baby Driver||Won|
|Best Scene||Baby goes for coffee (opening credits)||Runner-up|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||December 8, 2017||Best Editing||Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos||Won|||
On December 5, 2017, Wright confirmed that Sony Pictures would like to produce a sequel to Baby Driver, and that he plans to write the screenplay for it.