Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Baby Driver (2017) - Film Review


*Originally written June 19th, 2017*

"One killer track"
I was pumped for Baby Driver, I'm a huge fan of Edgar Wright, he's maybe my favourite director working right now, I will be massively excited for anything he does, although I was a bit worried about Baby Driver. I would prefer to see Wright do more smaller British comedies like his Cornetto Trilogy, but holy shit, my expectations were exceeded and then some.

Baby Driver is a huge change of pace for Wright, while all of his previous films are mostly comedies, this is a full on action musical, a genre I had no idea could work. While it is funny in places, it is pretty serious for the most part and the last act goes to some really dark and surprisingly gruesome places, Which is a was pleasant surprise.

Ansel Elgort is an actor I've not been too hot on, he mostly appears in teen crap like The Fault in our Stars and the Divergent series, but holy shit, he really proved he can carry a film here as the titular 'Baby'. He's the right amount of cool, charismatic and compelling to root for. His relationship with waitress (Lily James) brought real heart to the film and was insanely likeable.

Baby's disability and use of only being able to work with music is something so unique and I don't think I've ever seen it done before. It's a weird way of making a musical without anyone really singing. The sound design is excellent too, with the ringing sounds of Baby's tinitus subtly entering the scene whenever he is without music in a moment he needs it. The love of music in Baby Driver gave me that same feeling I got from watching Almost Famous where I just wanted to spend hours discovering and loving new music.

The supporting cast were filled with memorable characters, most of which are extremely unlikeable, but quirky and fun in their own way. Kevin Spacey really surprised me, I was under the impression he was the straight up villain of the film, but they turn that on its head at the end as you learn more about his relationship with Baby. Jon Hamm was a lot of fun, as was his on-screen wife Eiza Gonzales. Jamie Foxx was the most unstable as the genuinely crazy Bats, his character was a bit of a one dimensional psychopath, but there was enough there for him to leave an impression.

What really drives Baby Driver is Edgar Wright's direction and use of music. I mentioned this was like an action-musical, and it really is. It felt like La La Land meets HEAT and it is a bizarre combination that works. Every song choice is perfect and matches the images on display beat for beat while Wright delivers some fantastically kinetic action that is some of the best filmed stuff I've seen this year. I'd say the strongest set-piece was the opening getaway sequence, but the rest of it is all still awesome, especially a footchase towards the end that reminded me of Ferris Bueller and Point Break.

While it's a Hollywood film, it keeps Wright's British charm, complete with the fluent quick-cutting he's so good at and while Baby Driver is not a comedy for the most part, there are some really funny moments here and there, including an incredible reference to Monsters Inc. One of the earlier Wright'isms I noticed early on is the lyrics to the music Baby is listening to during the opening credits are written subtly on things around the city as Baby is walking to get coffee. It's amazing that Wright can make something as mundane as getting coffee be such a fun and memorable scene.

Like all of Edgar Wright's work I can only imagine my apprection for Baby Driver will grow with each watch due to all the subtle little breadcrumbs Wright leaves throughout his films, demanding rewatches. I will definintely be seeing this again when it hits its official release, as it could potentially be my film of the year by the end of it all.

Baby Driver is another masterpiece from Edgar Wright, a magical, kinetic, music-led action film filled with outstanding set-pieces, memorable characters and an insane soundtrack. I cannot wait to see what Wright does next. All I know is, I want it now.

10/10 Dans

Baby Driver is out June 28th in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:
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