When Edgar Wright left Ant-Man I got sad, but I also realised that maybe it was for the best because he’d probably end up making a cooler film. And it turns out that that was the case; Baby Driver came out this week and I’ve already gone to see it twice in the cinema!
I’m going to do something different with his review, though; I’m not going to put images from the film, but songs from the soundtrack. All in all, the music is possibly the most important thing in this film so it makes sense.
Baby Driver focuses on the eponymous Baby (Ansel Elgort). He works as a driver for a man named Doc (Kevin Spacey) who organises heists. Doc doesn’t work with the exact same crew twice, but the only common in those crimes is Baby, who is repaying a debt in that classic situation of ‘One last job and I’m out’.)
Baby is a man of few words, always wearing sunglasses and listening to music. He listens to music for two different reasons, to focus and to block his tinnitus. His life changes when he meets Deborah (Lily James) when Doc forces him to do a final job.
Told like that, it sounds like a film you might have seen a million times already. But Baby Driver is not like those films, and the main reason is the soundtrack and how the film happens around it.
“I gotta start the song over… Ok, go!”
The soundtrack is so important that it feels like an extra character. I was talking about this with a friend and she said something like “This is a heist musical” and it’s right. True, the characters don’t break into song and dance but this is still a musical.
Everything is choreographed around the music and that works out really well. If there’s a shootout then the bullets will be shot following the rhythm of whatever is playing at that moment, and there might be atmospheric sounds following that same beat. When I first heard about this I thought it was silly, but it’s not. It’s awesome! When I saw some of the songs I was curious about how they’d work in a chase scene but they work wonderfully.
Music is so important here that you even see some musicians like Flea, Sky Ferreira, or Paul Williams in small roles, which is a cool nod. And if there’s no music playing then you will hear Baby’s tinnitus in the background, which is just a stroke of genius.
That’s how important sound is for this film. And the soundtrack is really amazing; you have songs from artists ranging from The Damned, T. Rex, Simon & Garfunkel to Queen. The film has gone a long way from the original idea Wright used for that music video, and it does feature in the film but in a ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ sort of way.
“In this business, the moment you catch feelings you’re dead.”
The cast is perfect as well. Ansel Elgort is brilliant; true he doesn’t speak much and usually looks stone faced but that’s how his character is supposed to be. And the moment Lily James appeared on screen I fell for her character as much as Baby does. Their scenes together are very sweet.
And the criminal element is quite cool. Apart from Spacey we have Jon Bernthal, Jamie Foxx, Eiza González (who apparently recorded albums as a singer in Mexico as well) and Jon Hamm. And it has Wright‘s trademark humour as well, like when Baby goes to case a place for a future heist and Doc tells him to take his nephew.
And when it comes to the heists and chase scenes? This film has no rival. It has some of the best car chases in recent years, and an on-foot chase that’s also particularly intense.
I’ve been a fan of Edgar Wright for quite a while. I like all the films he’s directed but so far this one’s my favourite. This is definitely the coolest film you could go see in the cinema right now, and you should definitely do that. I found myself humming and tapping my foot to the rhythm of the music from beginning to end, because this whole film is an earworm!
I really can’t recommend Baby Driver enough.
Angry Spaniard, adoptive Irishman. Writer, reader, tea drinker and video game player/designer.