Is this film a highway hit or does it fall too short from the finishing line?
With a premise that has been seen in many films prior to Baby Driver, director Edgar Wright had to pull something pretty original out of the bag.
I mean, this director is behind the Cornetto trilogy… It appears being authentic in his storytelling is second nature to him.
We are introduced to Baby (Ansel Elgort), a young, extremely talented getaway driver who uses music to ‘hum the drum’ of his severe tinnitus caused by an accident when he was a child. Exploiting Baby’s talents is Doc (Kevin Spacey), the mastermind behind the heists that Baby works with a bunch of psychopathic criminals. Baby dreams to one day getaway (no pun intended) from this life, and finds this hope in the form of Debora (Lily James), but when Baby’s criminal and personal worlds begin to blur, there is no telling what trouble lies ahead.
It would not be fair to not start off by talking about the brilliant use of sound this film has adopted. This film is a musical of a whole new kind and I can definitely see more films being inspired to follow. Wright has managed to time every action that happens in the scene to the beat of the music, which yes might not sound like anything special, but when the soundtrack is a mixture of iconic classics and not instrumental suddenly the game-play changes. The timing is perfected, to the point I reckon you could strip the music from some scenes and use the actions to create an acapella version of the song. In terms of style and music, this film is a sleek cinematic masterpiece.
After watching the opening car-chase you know you have spent your money well on this cinema ticket. The film is cut into blocks of action sequences, with the plot intertwined, and yes I know I have just pointed out the obvious format of action films, but Wright has not neglected the plot in favour of another dramatic car chase, as is the case with many action films. What helps keep the balance between the two is the smooth editing, and the script. In many action films there is a case of predictable, dramatic dialogue, but not in Baby Driver. It is apparent that the music is at the wheel driving the film, but the script sits comfortably in the passenger seat keeping the music going. The wtiting is clever and extremely funny, with Spacey’s Doc having some of the best lines.
We have all had that pure feeling of being otherworldly when we match the beat of the music to something we are doing; well this is the daily occurrence for Baby. Elgort effortlessly captures the morally grounded and warm-hearted nature of young Baby whilst being seriously ‘cool’ pulling off his crazy driving tricks. The fact that Baby does not speak much helps glide the film along, as we are invited to share in his excellent music choices but also his story. At times the relationship between Baby and Debora felt rushed and convenient, but it is touching to see them share their love for music. The rest of cast are a great mix, some are stereotypical but somehow Wright has made it work.
Love music. Check. Love a bit of action. Check. Love a great script. Check. Love Edgar Wright’s previous films. Check – then this film is for you.
Baby Driver is released on 28th June in all UK cinemas.