Produced by: Nira Park, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx.
If you’re going to open a film with a car chase, there’s nothing better than synchronising the action to, The John Spencer Blues Explosion.
Now this band brings back some memories – not burn-outs or car chases but I did manage to maroon my VC Commodore on a boulder out on a backroad near Byron Bay. What a road trip; the music in the tape deck including the, John Spencer. So, I was already grinning when the opening of Baby Driver exploded onto the screen.
What I didn’t expect was the huge part the sound track played in this film. Almost to the point of being a musical with the stylised drama and overacting that somehow fit because all the moves were in time to some cool track. See sound track here…
Obviously the film’s about a driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort). Who’s managed to get himself into the debt of a criminal mastermind, Doc (Kevin Spacey) who puts crews together to do jobs like rob banks – any Job that requires a driver, Baby gets called. And like his name there’s something sweet about the guy.
Baby Driver is an interesting blend with this sweetness potentially turning the film into cheese. But director and screenwriter Edgar Wright has replicated the same tone of comedy and romance and music as his previous films (think, Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007) and The World’s End (2013)) but then adding action, reining in all the elements so one didn’t take over from the other but instead complimented: the romance being the motivation; the action creating adrenaline; the comedy for that bit of relief… Along with camera shots completely in tune with the soundtrack to make a very entertaining film that felt different because of that tone of sweet.
And the love story added a nice touch. From an absolute kick arse driver opening up to the most amazing car chases I’ve seen on screen to the love Baby finds with the waitress, Debora who dreams of, ‘heading west on 20 in a car I can’t afford, with a plan I don’t have’.
And I really liked the cast here – the character, Baby, needing a strong, likable performance from Ansel Elgort to get away with those dance moves which he did when he could make cars dance the same way. And Lily James as Debora (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)) reminded me of the late Brittany Murphy which made me a little sad.
I loved seeing Jon Hamm as the bad arse Buddy. And Kevin Spacey as the master criminal, added a little grounding.
With initial concern about the title, Baby Driver (I mean, what the?! Baby?! How cheesy is that!), I get the tone after seeing the film: that 50s vibe coming through with the setting of the diner and Debora the waitress wearing those old-style outfits with a classic openness of character you’d expect from earlier times with no cynicism in sight. I get it.
So, not the action/thriller I was expecting, instead, Baby Driver’s kinda cool, without being slick.