2017, dir. Edgar Wright
There are movies that look cool. This movie IS cool!
But seriously? Our hero is named ‘Baby’??
Whatever, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s the best darn driver you’ve seen on a screen that isn’t part of the Fast and Furious franchise.
This is Edgar Wright’s first ‘Hollywood’ film, although he’s already made a huge name for himself with the likes of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End and Scott Pilgrim vs the World – all great movies.
The hero of this story is a youngster with tinnitus, who constantly listens to music to drown out the ringing. He has a near-supernatural talent for driving, which inadvertently lands him deep under the iron rule of Doc (Kevin Spacey) – the underground mastermind who uses different teams of criminal talent for each job, except Baby – he is Doc’s ‘lucky charm’.
Although Baby has the talent for such a career – it’s not what he wants. How does he reverse (pun totally intended) out of such a lifestyle – alive? It’s a little complex, but thankfully the viewer isn’t required to work his/her brain – everything falls neatly into place.
REASONS TO OWN THIS FILM:
It’s Technically A Musical
The music in Baby Driver is the driving force (yes, pun intended again) of everything. Edgar Wright outshines Quentin Tarantino (only just) by showcasing his retro music collection, which is literally part of the plot in several ways. There is almost always a cool song playing. And when there isn’t, we hear the ringing in the ears – clever, hey?
The film immediately starts with TWO musical opening sequences: the first one is an action-based thrill ride. The second one is simply Baby walking down the street to ‘The Harlem Shuffle’, but as we hear the lyrics and the beat, they are synced up to everything on screen: graffiti, cars, posters, a door opening…it is an incredible feat of choreography and production design!
And this extends to the rest of the film where every drumbeat or guitar strum on the soundtrack is perfectly synchronised to the action on the screen.
It’s pretty much a hard-action opera.
A Talented Cast
Like with any heist movie (and we all love a heist movie) there needs to be a solid team: each person with a specific and unique talent to make the whole operation a success. What makes this heist film stand out from others (such as Ocean’s Eleven, Heat or Reservoir Dogs) is that friends become foes and foes become friends. Trustworthy individuals become terrifying and sometimes a villain shows a soft, warm side.
On top of that is the action and the amazing comedy (“He puts the Asian in Home Invasion”) which only masterful actors can pull off, hence the inclusion of two Oscar winners – Spacey and Foxx.
With all of Wright’s films, everything you see or hear – no matter how silly or seemingly pointless – is usually alluding to or foreshadowing something important still to come. Wright has a fantastic talent of giving away plot points (or the entire plot, see Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End) in extremely subtle ways.
It’s one of Wright’s strengths that make his movies so good to watch over and over again. I remember sitting in the cinema, wishing I could pause and rewind various scenes – just to take it all in.
It’s Visually Beautiful
Usually, crime films default to a gritty or techno sort of look. Baby Driver takes a sunnier, friendlier visual tone for most of the film. Yet at the same time it doesn’t feel forced. Watch out for the laundromat scene for a wash of colour (I could do this all day!) across the screen.
Iain’s verdict: Baby Driver
The use of ‘Brighton Rock’ by Queen is the first time I’ve heard a ‘non-greatest hits’ Queen song in a movie – and it is, of course, used to round up a certain plot point. Baby Driver is one of those films that simply must belong in any collection, because you won’t be cool unless it’s proudly on your shelf.