It’s finally out in NZ cinemas! Baby Driver, the movie I’ve been banging on about since I saw it at the NZ Media screening on July 5th! It’s the perfect combination of: work written and directed by an auteur that I very much respect (Edgar Wright), superb performances, an incredible soundtrack (that I couldn’t stop listening to for five days straight after I saw Baby Driver!) and a killer, exciting action packed story. Genre wise it’s bringing everything from heist movie, car skills flick, action movie, tender romantic comedy (but it’s still genuine and enjoyable and not in the slightest bit shitty or lame), straight up funny comedy and a slab of cult cool, filled with coffee runs and car chases.
The success of this film hinges on the character of Baby and his believability and through it all, Baby stays the epitome of a good guy, the ultimate hero and has an incredible and satisfying arc.
Get ready for Ansel Elgort, cause he’s just going to explode after this! This is HIS film, his moves are slick, he dances incredibly and IMO he’s secured the Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) role for me in any future remakes of Dirty Dancing! It’s just the little cool quirks that Elgort brings to Baby, making him likable and well-rounded as he tinkers away with his music and lives every second of his existence bathed in tunes.
The driving in Baby Driver is so sublime and I’m sure it’s the incredible skills you’ll see in this film, which you might have felt were lacking in Drive or indeed, the newer Fast and the Furious films. In Baby Driver, the action is frenetic, break-neck stuff from the outset. Plus the more that Baby encounters and sinks into the nefarious world he’s operating in, the more the set pieces elaborate; there’s more blood and gore and the stakes definitely keep rising. Car chase movie wise, Baby Driver certainly takes some cues and inspiration from iconic scenes like the chase in The French Connection (1971) as well as films like Vanishing Point (1971) or Bullitt (1968).
Baby Driver has a soundtrack for the ages that is beautiful, layered and induces synaesthesia. A troupe which writer and director Edgar Wright carries with him from his previous works too; see the Queen sequence in Shaun of the Dead when the gang are pelting Ol’ Mate from The Winchester with pool cues to the strains of Don’t Stop Me Now. In Baby Driver, music is used to introduce and seduce us into emotionally investing in these characters to such a high level; and very much so in the sequence that we’re shown with Baby in his everyday “coffee run mode”, set to Harlem Shuffle by Bob & Earl as the lyrics of the song appear sneakily in the background, as Baby makes his way through his world.
Asides to the music we hear, music appreciation is a big theme throughout Baby Driver; with characters talking about their favourite songs, what music means to them, sharing new music together and in the case of Baby, creating his own original music too. Baby Driver reminds us of the romance of what first having an iPod was like and how we even use iPods as mix tapes now, detaching ourselves from the phone function so we can lose ourselves in music; or leaving an old iPod in ya car for road trips, or having an iPod loaded specifically with gym tunes to work out too. Wright’s clever use of the device takes a tool that’s become an extension of us; to ground the film and make Baby’s lifestyle familiar to the audience. Wright’s iPod use in Baby Driver flirts with the millennial lip syncing phenomenon; the Apple iPod marketing itself with the trendy silhouettes dancing in their own world, bopping with the iconic ear buds in. Wright is also astute for selecting affecting, well known songs to propel the story and the characters forward, aiding us to learn more about each character, through the little snippets of songs that accompany their action onscreen.
Baby Driver is technically proficient and ensures that there have been no short cuts taken in achieving this complicated production challenge to screen. Highlights for me were superb match move editing, like morphing take out coffee cup lids into an elevator button. Or seemingly transporting Baby through time and space as he stands in one location and then snap, progressing the story forward with match move editing, so that Baby is standing in a completely different location.
The Fault In Our Gus is a getaway driver that works for Keyser Sose, while gently and organically falling in love with Cinderella, who works at his local diner. Serving as the getaway driver for The Punisher, Don Draper, Santánico Pandemonium and Ray Charles becomes intense; and The Fault In Our Gus finds a way to free himself of this increasingly dangerous situation.
Starring of course, Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars), Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects),
Lily James (Cinderella), Jon Bernthal (Netflix Marvel’s The Punisher), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Eiza Gonzalez (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series) and Jamie Foxx (Ray).
Baby Driver makes me immediately want to watch it again and honestly, I was hoping there was going to be a Blu Ray copy of the film waiting at the door for me to take home at the end of the screening, I loved it that much! You know there’s just something so special about a film, when 20 minutes in, you know you’re “all in” and you’re totally invested. Baby Driver has launched itself into my Top 5 films of 2017 and was an instant 10/10 for me; and to be honest, that’s kinda stating something massive considering I saw Baby Driver, War for the Planet of the Apes and Spider-Man Homecoming all in the space of 3 days. It’s whip smart and just…cool, man. You know that cool, nice kid that’s exciting at school that you just wanna be friends with? Baby Driver IS that cool kid from school. A great stand-alone movie that for all the people complaining about there being too many super hero movies, too many comic movies, too many reboots, too many remakes, too many sequels or prequels…well, shut the hell up and go and see Baby Driver and let the squeal of Baby’s tyres quell your naysayin’ ass.
Wanna see the first six minutes of Baby Driver? Here you go…
Have you become enthralled with the Baby Driver buzz yet? Busting to see it or perhaps you’re already planning another viewing of this action comedy heist movie? Tell me in the comments which is your favourite scene, who was your favourite character and what you love or in fact, didn’t love, about Baby Driver…
Feature Image via Hollywood Reporter