BABY DRIVER (15, 113 mins)

Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez. Director: Edgar Wright.

IN 2003, before he licked the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy of Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End, director Edgar Wright staged a comical bank robbery in the music video for techno duo Mint Royale's catchy Blue Song.

The Dorset-born filmmaker expands on that simple premise in Baby Driver, a high-octane crime caper which gleefully burns rubber to a toe-tapping soundtrack.

The stellar ensemble cast wore tiny ear-pieces on set so they could perfectly synchronise their characters' dialogue and movements to the rhythm and harmonies of The Beach Boys, Dave Brubeck, T.Rex, Martha And The Vandellas, Blur, Queen and Simon And Garfunkel.

It's a daring stylistic conceit that runs the risk of leaving audiences choking on the exhaust fumes of Wright's bold ambition.

Thankfully, the writer-director packs plenty of substance beneath the bonnet of his well-oiled machine, opening with a dizzying flourish set to Bellbottoms by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Expertly staged car chases get the adrenaline pumping like Nicolas Refn Winding's thriller Drive, which put Ryan Gosling behind the wheel.

Here, 23-year-old rising star Ansel Elgort, who broke teenage hearts in The Fault In Our Stars, comes of age with aplomb as the eponymous speed demon.

He plays Baby, who has suffered tinnitus since the age of seven when he was involved in a horrific car accident that killed his parents.

In order to drown out the ringing in one ear, he listens to music at a deafening volume, which allows Baby to focus on his duties as a getaway driver for criminal mastermind Doc (Kevin Spacey).

Each daredevil heist pays off a fraction of the dues that Baby owes Doc.

For his final drive, Baby must assist Buddy (Jon Hamm), his fiery girlfriend Darling (Eiza Gonzalez) and trigger-happy rebel Bats (Jamie Foxx) to pilfer millions of dollars in money order slips.

As the plan takes shape, Baby kindles romance with a diner waitress called Debora (Lily James), who is desperate to leave town.

"In this job, the moment you catch feelings is the moment you catch a bullet," warns Bats.

Baby's cut from the robbery should allow him to chauffeur Debora to that brighter future, presuming Doc's plan doesn't go awry at the last minute...

Baby Driver is a bombastic blast, with at least one explosion of shocking violence that hammers home the perilously high stakes for Doc and his crew.

Hamm and Gonzalez catalyse smouldering screen chemistry while Foxx savours his role as a live wire, and Spacey oozes menace as the Mr Big, who pithy describes one team member as "the Asian in home invasion".

A frenetic final act almost runs out of gas but Wright's verve and Elgort's endearing lead performance carry the picture past the chequered flag. 8/10