Baby Driver is another of those heist films where the protagonist has to complete just one more job, and he’s out… and you’ll just know that there’s no escape, since why would a bad-guy boss let you go when you’re so damn good at your job?
However, don’t let the initial premise put you off, since what you need is a director who’ll add some exceptional style – step forward Edgar Wright (the Shaun of the Dead ‘Cornetto’ Trilogy, Spaced). He also adds a number of surprises which you wouldn’t expect in the average movie – but then EW *doesn’t make* average movies and, in fact, he made me sit up in my seat on a number of occasions, even bursting out laughing at some over-the-top elements thrown in for either punch or comic effect.
In addition, the more I replay some of the scenes in my head since watching the film – some during the drive some, the more I’ve been enjoying it, and I really need to see it again. It seems strange how it was only after I left the cinema that I appreciated some of the style of the movie, but that’s the delight of one that’s so packed, it takes another two hours to unpack in your mind.
And to quote the title of a song which is not featured in this film (although 30 others are – so there’s great music for everyone), ‘a whole lotta love’ has clearly gone into this film, with some attention-to-detail genius from Mr Wright that you would only normally get from a Wes Anderson movie, such as The Grand Budapest Hotel.
As for the plot, With a team organised by Doc (Kevin Spacey), the crew Baby (Divergent‘s Ansel Elgort) drives around with the most – since Doc likes to change things around, includes Bats (Jamie Foxx) – presumably so-called because he’s ‘bat-shit mental’, and as is quoted by another character to Baby, “When he sees red, you’ll see black”, since Bats is rather the violent type, plus long-standing couple Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eiza González). Add in a burgeoning relationship between Baby and waitress Debora (Lily James), which leads to elements of Bonnie & Clyde, a film that even gets a reference late on, plus a storyline I don’t want to reveal here as it wasn’t in the trailer – but it adds depth to Baby’s character.
The first 30 minutes features a couple of incredible car chases, but while the film does sag a little in the middle and it might not wholly hang together, as well as the fact I was finding it took until the second half to really get into it, it’s a real audio-visual treat, which has an incredibly high-octane last third, that final act coming back harder than Rocco Siffredi. As I mentioned earlier, I do need to see this again, and I think then I’ll get into the first half even more.
Writer/director Edgar Wright really *gets* those of us who ‘dance’ in the car while driving, by which I mean manouvering in time to the music as much as you can (safely) as well as looking around to beat.
As an aside, there was a bit of a niggle when a scene was changed from how it was in the trailer – the one where Baby is proving to Bats that he can still understand Doc’s words, despite wearing earphones and listening to Dave Brubeck’s Unsquare Dance. I can understand they’d cut this scene shorter for the trailer, and that it’s longer in the film – since no heist is ever that straight-forward, so will require longer explanation, but leaving out the *knock knock* on the table? That’s a real shame, as it added a nice bit of panache to that moment, especially as he was rubbing Bats’ face in it.
On more of an up, I took great delight in a couple of scenes with shoot-outs and driving combined, all to music (one featuring Hocus Pocus by Focus – the former sections making it feel like Free Fire: The Musical (kinda, and in the best possible way).
It’s interesting to note also that at times Baby uses an original iPod and at another time, a Sony Walkman, so he’s not exactly fully up to date with technology, but it seems to work for him.
Of course, it would’ve been nice to have two hours solid of fancy driving, as was kinds hinted at in the trailer, but then again, you also need a plot. I would love for the Blu-ray and DVD to include behind-the-scenes footage of the car chases.
For those wondering if there’s any post-credit scenes, there aren’t, but as the final track ended, I loved how it was followed by the sound of a tape being rewound 🙂
On a final note, after ceasing as director on Ant-Man, Mr Wright said of the situation, “The most diplomatic answer is I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie”. Well, based on everything I’ve seen from him to date, if there’s one thing that Marvel’s limping franchise needs, it’s a shot in the arm from Edgar Wright!
Also, you can buy the 2-disc CD soundtrack.
Running time: 113 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
Cinema: Odeon, Trafford Centre
Format: 2.35:1 (Dolby Vision, Anamorphic Panavision)
Released: June 28th 2017
Director: Edgar Wright
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Nira Park
Screenplay: Edgar Wright
Music: Steven Price
Baby: Ansel Elgort
Debora: Lily James
Doc: Kevin Spacey
Bats: Jamie Foxx
Buddy: Jon Hamm
Darling: Eiza González
Barista: Micah Howard
Griff: Jon Bernthal
Street Preacher: Morgan Brown
Joseph: CJ Jones
Baby’s Mom: Sky Ferreira
Baby’s Dad: Lance Palmer
Young Baby: Hudson Meek
Diner Waitress: Viviana Chavez
Cook: Hal Whiteside
JD: Lanny Joon
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.