So I may be slightly delayed here, given that this film roared into U.K cinemas to critical acclaim over three weeks ago, however , I felt it wasn’t too late to tell you just how awesome Edgar Wright’s (“Shaun of the Dead”, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”) latest outing is and why you HAVE to see it on the big screen ASAP!
All you need is a killer track
“The song’s is over, but you still need to face the music”- Buddy (Jon Hamm)
Wright developed the concept for “Baby Driver” over a number of years, originating in his university room whilst listening to “Bellbottoms” by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in 1995. He strongly believed that the track would be great for a car chase and so- an idea was born.
The narrative of the movie is consumed by music. Our lead character, Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a talented getaway driver who suffers from a chronic hearing problem due to a childhood tragedy. To calm his nerves, Baby drives to beat of his iPod playlists.
Thus commences the superb thirty-five track soundtrack, including a variety songs by the likes of Run the Jewels, James Brown, The Commodores to name but a few. Constantly driven by music, this film is loud and proud and the soundtrack lends itself generously to the action. Queen’s “Brighton Rock” has never sounded so good!
A stellar cast
Wright has combined Hollywood’s newest and most established stars to complete his cast.
Ansel Elgort (“The Fault in our Stars”) takes the driver’s seat as Baby, who is persuaded to work in the criminal world by Doc, played by acting kingpin Kevin Spacey.
When Baby falls in love with the charming Debra (“Cinderella’s” Lily James who shines in the romantic lead), he decides to get out of a life of crime, but not before taking on one last job alongside “Don Draper” himself Jon Hamm and the unhinged Bats (Jamie Foxx).
Each character is played with energy and conviction- there isn’t a weak link in this all star cast. Look out for a fun cameo from Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist, Flea!
Fiercely Choreographed Action Sequences
Wright brought in Ryan Hefferton (Sia’s “Chandelier” music video) to choreograph the action sequences. Great precision was made to keep moments such gun shots, entering and exiting cars and fighting in time with the music.
At first glance, you may put this down to clever editing, however almost everything you see was choreographed on set. The actors would be learning rhythms which would then be added to the track. The result is slick, stylish and thrilling for the audience.
A particularly effective scene is early on in the movie as Baby is collecting coffee. With earphones in, we see him shuffle without a care in the world (so we believe) through the streets of Atlanta (in a way reminiscent of Gene Kelly dancing in the rain) as the lyrics to the song are subliminally placed across building signs, coffee cups and sidewalks. It is a genius and incredibly charming scene.
After a succession of frankly repetitive “Fast and Furious” releases over the years, in comes “Baby Driver”, puts the pedal to the metal and surprises the car chase movie genre with its originality, wit and charm.
Baby is trapped in this life of crime and as we delve deeper in to his mysterious character, we find a person desperate to escape this world and from the hands of Spacey’s Doc. Moments with his elderly wheel-chair bound foster father, Joe brings a lot of heart to this action movie, particularly as Baby’s luck begins to change.
Where some people will draw comparisons to Ryan Gosling in “Drive”, here the audience is given more of a back story from our lead character to draw affection from.
“La La Land” may not be the only movie musical released this year. Wright effectively fuses music with action in such a successful way, you wonder how someone hasn’t created something as infectious as this before- essentially a car-chasing musical extravaganza!
Picture a driver, scrolling through his iPod, finding that one ‘killer track’ and expertly lip syncing to it, as just across the road, chaos ensues. The driver is calm and collected as he begins to rev the engines, the music builds and assents and as the criminals crawl in to the car, the get-away begins and the chase is on.
The audience is instantly catapulted in to this explosive opener and Wright engages you through these first 6 minutes, as we glide through this musical ride.
The scene ends with the credit- “A Film by Edgar Wright”.
Baby Driver is in cinemas now and deserves to be watched on the big screen- get out and see it before it drives away!
Have you already seen Baby? What did you think?