What an absolutely bombastic, rip-rolling blast Baby Driver is! From the moment Baby (Ansel Elgort) presses play on his iPod and Bellbottoms by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion belts out, this film had me head nodding and foot tapping along, right through to the end credits “Was he slow?” mix playing out.
Sprinkled with moments of quite extreme violence but mostly this film thrives on the adrenaline-inducing driving alongside the heist-action but is intercut with touching moments of family and blossoming love that gives this film another layer of wonderful. Edgar Wright is a director with an eye for real style and definitely a finger on the pulse of feel-good.
Baby Driver follows the exploits of Baby as he drives the getaway cars (exceptionally well I may add) for numerous heists and for numerous crews as they carry out Doc’s (Kevin Spacey) plans.
With a pretty great cast, everyone is delivering the goods; Jon Bernthal (Griff) has a small role but plays menacing as good as anyone else around at present. Kevin Spacey (Doc) is the, slightly comic-book, mastermind behind the heists, the local boss man, pulling all the strings and getting what he wants. All the time. Without question! John Hamm (Buddy) and Eiza Gonzalez (Darling) play the Bonnie and Clyde pairing; madly in love but dangerous and vibrant. Lily James as Debora connects extremely well as Baby’s love interest, holds the camera and comes across really well, and not just as eye candy either. Her interactions with Baby felt real and authentic, credit must go to the writing and the acting for all these scenes. Jamie Foxx (Bats), was the only one who I felt was a little bit over the top and it detracted ever so slightly from the rest of them. That’s not to say that he isn’t good and threatening at times, but he played Bats as a bit too unstable/unhinge for this role IMO. The others were wild and willing to do crazy things but were pretty focussed on the task at hand whereas Bats was too much of a loose cannon. I certainly wouldn’t be including him in my heist crew. Not that I’m planning a heist. Nope, nothing brewing here. Moving along…….
Long time Edgar Wright collaborator, Bill Pope’s camera work is so, so good. Managing to maintain clarity of the action whilst switching angles and trying to get shots of racing vehicles, but also encompassing the kinetic movements of Baby as he walks down the street or makes a peanut butter sandwich (spread all the way to the edge!), it really brings this film to life and makes you engage.
All play their part in layering up this action-heist-chase-soundtrack fest. The integration of the sound into the film takes what worked so well with Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2 and elevates it to another level. Much like Star Lord not being able to give up his link to his past, Baby cannot do it either, the music being his link to the past. Wright’s ability to tie in the action with the beats of the playing tunes adds another level to this film, tying it into the music rather than accompanying it. Having tried and tested it with Shaun of the Dead (Moaning zombie & White Lines scene/Pool cue beating landlord & Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now scene) this again, takes it to the next level. I found myself smiling at each and every moment that coincided with a musical beat, every gunshot that was actually also a moment of percussion. If anyone wanted to take a blueprint of how to integrate music into a film, this would be a great place to start.
I could keep gushing about this film as there are so many good elements to it. Visually, narratively, musically and surprisingly emotionally. In fact, I’m off to buy the soundtrack now as I need to immerse myself into it again, don my shades and work on my coffee-carrying-street-movement.