Star performances to a killer soundtrack…

Baby Driver

Baby Driver directed by Edgar Wright

I went to see Baby Driver last night and loved it from start to finish!  For a (15) film, it is very violent, but it is so much more than just a heist and car chase movie with guns; it also has a good heart.

Baby Driver lift sceneBaby, that’s “B-A-B-Y,” is an orphan who lives with his deaf, wheelchair-bound foster father. His arguing parents were killed in a car crash when he was a little boy, which he survived. Traumatised, he grew up to be a joyrider, spotted and forced to become a getaway driver by crime boss Doc (Spacey). Baby has tinnitus, and is nearly always connected to his ear-buds listening to music to drown out the buzz. Being a perfect lip-reader, this leads to hilarity when Bats (Foxx) accuses him of being ‘slow’ at a heist planning meeting. Each heist, Doc and Baby work with a different crew. It’s not until the last one, when Doc puts Bats and Buddy (Hamm) together that things will go dangerously wrong. Baby had previously tried to get out, but Doc wouldn’t let him go.

Meanwhile, Baby has met Debora (James), a waitress in a diner. The pair fall in love instantly, but are prevented from getting together properly. But even once she realises what kind of driver Baby is has to be, Debora stands by her man. Their fledgling relationship is lovely, and young star Ansel Elgort has so moved on from the cheesy teen weepie The Fault in Their Stars to carry this film wonderfully.

Spacey, Foxx, González (Buddy’s wife, Darling), James and Hamm all sparkle in the supporting ensemble. Hamm was particularly brilliant as the louche and deranged Buddy, and Spacey dead-pans it as usual, but with a fatherly twinkle in his eye.

The real co-star in Wright’s movie though is the soundtrack. From the Simon & Garfunkel track that gives the film its name, through Queen’s Brighton Rock, some classic soul like Bob & Earl’s Harlem Shuffle and the Commodore’s Easy, to Dave Brubeck’s Unsquare Dance and a superb chase on foot sequence to Hocus Pocus by Focus, the entire movie is choreographed to the music, which also includes snippet from other classic soundtracks too along with the songs. Actions, cutaways, you name it, they all happen in time to the music, and it adds a really thrilling edge to everything.  Naturally, with a love interest called Debora, T.Rex’s (Baby misprounounces it as ‘Trex’ – ahh!) song of that name appears, and yes, you’ll remember that Mark Bolan really did rhyme Debora with Zebra!

Director Wright has always had a wonderful sense of timing as evidenced by his first movie Shaun of the Dead  – love that film – remember the sequences where Shaun (Simon Pegg) walks down the road to the shop with everything happening in time to the music?  Here, the entire film has the same sensibility and combined with a great sense of humour, some fantastic car-chase sequences and a central love story, it works from start to finish. Wonderful!

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