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Film Review: Baby Driver

Film Review/Film: 08 Aug 2017, 16:16
Roe McDermott[1]

Film Review: Baby Driver

Edgar Wright’s crime caper is all car chases and cool tunes, little else.

Watching Baby Driver, the new car-chase-laden heist flick from beloved cult comedy director Edgar Wright – a film that had audiences swooning at SXSW and has critics doling out stars like an indulgent preschool teacher – I remembered that old writing joke: What’s the difference between a stereotype and an archetype? Pedigree. Filling a film with characterisations so thin you couldn’t use them as a coaster, Wright has concocted a film that’s much like its main character, getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort).

It’s at home when it’s on the move. More than that; it’s glorious when it’s on the move. In its opening sequence, a truly iconic car-chase, set perfectly to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s ‘Bellbottoms’, is a kinetic, eye-popping ballet.

Every chase sequence is like this, a crackling exercise in fantastic choreography with a killer score. But when Baby stops driving and his carefully curated playlist stops, there’s a ringing sound. For him, it’s tinnitus; remnants of a tragic car accident that informed his desires to master mechanical beasts, and to keep music constantly piping into his eardrums.

For the film, the ringing sound is an alarm: once the music stops, beware. The soul of Baby Driver dies with it. Baby works for crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey), who directs an ever-rotating assemblage of one-dimensional bank robbers – cool guy Buddy (Jon Hamm), unstable Bats (Jamie Foxx), and beautiful Darling (Eiza Gonzalez).

Baby also has a love interest played by Lily James; a waitress with a Southern drawl and a love of monosyllabic men with criminal careers. Completing the trifecta, she also has cherub cheeks and a hipster love of cassettes and iPods. She’s not called Manic Pixie Dream Waitress, but she may as well be.

Baby Driver‘s action and soundtrack are utterly seductive. They’re witty, wild and irrepressible. Everything beyond that is a screenplay coasting in neutral, and just because it’s Edgar Wright, it doesn’t mean you can’t tap the horn to tell him to get into gear.

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References

  1. ^ Roe McDermott (www.hotpress.com)

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