Film Review: Baby Driver
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Baby Driver may well be one of the most original films to come from a British director in years. This fast paced, blood pumping action crime drama takes you on the most wild yet ridiculously fun joy ride for its entire 112 minute run time.
Nothing gives you more satisfaction from watching a film than the knowledge that you’re watching a totally unique idea come to life, a spark of a great idea which was the brain child of Edgar Wright who first wrote the script for the film six years ago.
Baby Driver follows naturally skilled driver Baby, who is indebted to a crime boss (Kevin Spacey) and must pay off his debts by assisting him as the get-away driver for various robbery jobs carried out by different crews.
This film is completely and utterly outstanding. It is a work of art which has been planned, made, tweaked and edited so precisely that it really is like watching some kind of sensory painting.
Wright’s Baby Driver is unapologetically stylistic and because of this the film is so naturally executed without any sense of an attempt to be a film it is not. It is loud, exciting, funny and action-packed yet so much more than this as well.
Not a single shot is an accident in this film; every single moment has been mapped out and planned so precisely, that the cinematography and editing is just as mesmerising as the action in the film. With some of the best chase sequences you have ever seen in a movie, Baby Driver has been choreographed like a fast-paced dance routine which requires flawless execution.
With the technical elements of the film being pulled off so perfectly, the film is almost dream-like at points, as if the whole thing is a fantasy. This is a familiar sensation which was definitely utilised in Nicholas Winding Refn’s famed get-away driver film Drive.
The story of a driver caught up with crime while having glimpses of a more desirable, normal life is mirrored in Baby Driver and the almost dream-like sequences which sees protagonist Baby try to manipulate reality through music and a short romance with Debora (Lily James).
Ansel Elgort, while being a surprising casting for some, is a perfect fit for this role. His mysterious, taciturn nature is endearing yet his quirky side which finds its way out when he listens to some funky music is entertaining, but also a reminder that this isn’t a one dimensional character. The subtle references to his parents and a more tragic back story also helps add an emotional layer to an otherwise entertaining film. He executes this character perfectly.
Another standout performance is from Jamie Foxx who plays the erratic and low-key terrifying Bats. This criminal does not fit a stereotype, but is instead a unique criminal persona, bringing an authentic level of threat and palpable tension to the role.
Kevin Spacey, as to be expected is fantastic in his role, bringing much needed humour to the most tense scenes. Accomplices Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eiza González), are good fits, and while Buddy has a little less character and complexity to him than his associates, he still pulls of the scary, unpredictable qualities of a hardened criminal.
However, what really makes this film, besides it technical perfection and stellar cast, is the pumping soundtrack. As Edgar Wright said himself, this film needs to be played LOUD. The best thing about Baby Driver’s soundtrack is that it is not forced. It is not a lazy attempt to make this film seem ‘cool’ or appealing to younger people; the music is crucial to the story.
After being in an accident as a child, Baby is left with ‘a hum in the drum’ which he attempts to drown out with music. This means that he is nearly constantly listening to music, which makes the speed chases all the more exhilarating as he plans his departures by waiting for the right point in the song. With all the hype around this film, I wouldn’t be surprised if sales in older-generation IPods suddenly surge.
Wright goes a step further also, coordinating gun shots and other sounds to the music, meaning the whole film has an incredible rhythmic quality to it. It makes the film feel like some kind of pseudo-musical as well as every other unique genre quality it boasts.
Baby Driver is straight-up awesome and a hugely enjoyable watch. With a narrative and soundtrack as original as this one, it will no doubt appeal to all different tastes, and will easily make its mark as one of the best films of the year.
Baby Driver is out now distributed through Sony Pictures.