The latest movie that my wife and I have watched was the latest offering from writer / director Edgar Wright (“Hot Fuzz”, “The World’s End”) – the action / crime film “Baby Driver”.
As the movie opens we meet young getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort – “November Criminals”, “Divergent”) as he drops a crew outside an Atlanta bank.
While the three robbers – Buddy (Jon Hamm – “Keeping Up With The Joneses”, “Mad Men”), Darling (Eiza González – “Almost Thirty”, “True Love”) and Griff (Jon Bernthal – “Sicario”, “Pilgrimage”) – hit the bank Baby sits in the car grooving to “Bellbottoms” by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – the first of numerous tunes that are an essential part of this film.
Following the raid there is a superb car chase scene as Baby successfully evades the police, before we move on to meet the mastermind behind the robbery, Doc (Kevin Spacey – “The Usual Suspects”, “Casino Jack”). This follows on from another brilliantly choreographed scene set to Bob & Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle” – where the background of each shot is just as important as the foreground, so careful watching is definitely rewarding.
Other characters that show up as the story unfolds include diner waitress Debora (Lily James – “Darkest Hour”, “The Exception”), criminal Bats (Jamie Foxx – “Sleepless”, “Miami Vice”) and Baby’s deaf foster-father Joseph (C. J. Jones – “Lincoln Heights”, “Frasier”).
Baby is indebted to Doc for one more job, then dreams of hitting the open road to freedom with his love interest. Will he manage to extricate himself from Doc’s clutches and stay one step ahead of the authorities while driving the crew?…
Ultimately the story kind of plays second fiddle to the action scenes and set pieces on show here. The stunt driving is impressive, with some neat twists thrown in. There is plenty of humour to be found (watch out for the Halloween mask gag), and the visuals are great throughout.
As mentioned earlier, though, it’s the music that is vital to the success of this film (and makes the cool soundtrack album a necessary addition to my collection). During the movie Baby almost always has music on the go, to combat the tinnitus that he suffers from. There are classic numbers from the likes of Dave Brubeck, Queen and the Beach Boys amongst many others (including Sky Ferreira who also portrays Baby’s mother in flashback scenes), and they all play major parts in the action.
Of specific note, apart from the previously noted “Harlem Shuffle”, is another fantastically choreographed scene involving ex-banker Buddy and his younger wife Darling) later in the film to accompany “Hocus Pocus” by Dutch legends Focus.
I saw a review that said “Baby Driver” was a bit like a mix-tape with a film added, and there is certainly some validity to that. The fairly routine storyline and a central character that doesn’t have a great deal to say, however, do not detract from nearly two hours of great fun and entertainment. Highly recommended viewing!…