By Adam Ray Palmer
There’s good movies, great movies and then films like Baby Driver. In 2017. I think I’ve given only three films the sought-after ‘5 star’ rating, now I have my fourth. That’s two in a week - what a month July has been!
Written and directed by Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz); Baby Driver stars Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Lily James and Jon Hamm.
Baby (Elgort) is a driver, and a quick driver at that. Baby is an emotionally damaged young man whose youthful mistakes landed him in debt to mysterious crime boss Doc (Spacey). Baby becomes Doc’s getaway driver due to his unusual talent of stylish, fast and controlled driving skills.
After being involved in a car accident as a child, Baby is left with tinnitus and therefore listens to the perfect song for each caper – making an extremely addictive and pumping soundtrack. Along the way, Baby interacts with different characters including a cute restaurant girl Debora (James), a crazy thug Bats (Foxx) and twisted and aggressive couple Buddy (Hamm) and Darling (Eliza González).
I mentioned in my Dunkirk review about bold and riveting opening sequences, Baby Driver follows suit. We see three characters exit a car and enter a bank to load up bags of cash whilst Baby sits in the driver’s seat. He picks a rousing driving tune ready for the newly rich criminals to come back to the car. He sings along as he waits like it’s some kind of fun game, but once he sets off on his way; it’s definitely more than a game. What ensues is a Grand Theft Auto come Fast and Furious style chase scene between Baby and the law. Edgar’s film cannot be pinned in the aforementioned-movie list though, Baby Driver is so much more than that.
Wright has made, what’s essentially, a car-thriller movie. However, under the skin it’s more of a stylish, heartfelt teen love story that is wrapped around constant automobile action. When you see Baby Driver’s trailer you think an all-action riot of a movie, which you definitely get; but the movie goes much deeper than that. Baby and Debora are so layered, their character arcs anchor the film, giving the overall narrative a more much thorough meaning.
The writing of the characters and plot is one thing, but the filming techniques are next level. Whenever Elgort's Baby is behind the wheel, this movie is a ballet of stylish automotive mayhem. And when we are out of a car, there’s amusing planning meetings with Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey, and you also get those more tender sequences with Ansel and Lily.
I just think the soundtrack here is everything. Every single song makes you smile, gets you giddy and look forward to what driving chaos looms. Baby Driver has incredible style with which its driving stunts are handled; a succession of cars dart and climb and swerve and slide, drawing gasps and cheers from the audience. The music accompanying these moments of madness is pivotal. You rarely hit the car roar, there’s muted sirens and no words are spoken – it’s the rawness of handheld camera work and Edgar lets the vinyl play.
Baby Driver is original, jaw-dropping and extremely addictive. Whilst the action pieces dazzle the eye, the layered narrative leaves you with a lot more to think about. If you’re happy with what you see in the two-minute trailer, you’ll be astonishing after the two-hour event.
Cineroom’s rating: 5 Stars
Baby Driver is out now worldwide – certificate 15