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FTN Reviews Baby Driver!

June 21st, 2017 by Andrew Comments

Baby Driver (15)
Directed by: Edgar Wright.
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza González, CJ Jones, Jon Bernthal.
Running Time: 1 hour 53 mins.

Baby (Elgort) is an unwilling getaway driver who, owing to an accident as a child, suffers from tinnitus and utilises music to drum out the noise and keep himself focused. Under the thumb of criminal planner Doc (Spacey) from a past encounter, Baby must work with various crews on heists, and looks forwards to his next job when his debt will finally be paid in full. Complicating matters, Baby meets waitress Deborah (James) with whom he strikes up a relationship, and the risks of the next larger job causes Doc to bring back members from previous crews Baby has driven with, something Doc has never done before.

Edgar Wright is a director who enjoys his movies fast paced and hyper-styled. Baby Driver is no exception, but it is a little more tempered, allowing for solidly handled action in the chase sequences while slowing down slightly to pause on character building moments, particularly at moments surrounding Baby’s home life with Joe (Jones), his wheelchair bound guardian, and the scenes with Deborah in the diner.

The former of those is particularly noteworthy as the character of Joe is also deaf, resulting in quieter scenes in contrast to the rest of the movie, and while this might seem like a bad idea given the movie, happily the scenes are no less important and no less filled with dialogue as Baby and Joe converse with (subtitled) sign language, with moments of both character and humour coming through.

Plotting is kept to a minimum, but that’s not a slight on the movie, it establishes itself quickly and easily, and has several other supporting characters – Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm being equally well developed as the leads, with the movie not forgetting character and plot when it begins bombarding the audience with style and content that really flourishes on the screen. What’s really unique here is how music is blended into the mix.

An early scene where Baby is sent to get coffee quickly establishes the tone, with a flourish not often seen in this kind of movie. Said scene has Baby walking and weaving his way through and around people and obstacles to the tune of Doc & Earl’s ‘Harlem Shuffle’ all done in one long, single steadycam shot that is beautiful, funny, stylish and overall impressive. You don’t get a shot like that without passion behind the camera focused on getting it right, and it shows.

The movie’s use of music is integrated into it to a level that is akin to a musical, and while it has musical traits Baby Driver is not necessarily a movie you would flat out describe as a musical. Like everything else, the music is used as a tool to create elaborate scenes – be it with the characters talking about music, or used in the editing of the movie to punctuate action.

The latter very much in a way that is new and crisp, with basic things like a person’s footsteps being timed to the beat to more advanced things like gunshots in time with drums – and again this is during a chase, not a musical sing and dance number. One foot chase utilises Focus’ ‘Hocus Pocus’ to great effect with characters making jumps and dives in time to the beat, without it being a distraction. Once again, let me emphasise this is not people dancing while being chased as you would get in a musical, it’s just movement, almost as if the characters are being propelled by the music, and you might not think it, but it works.

Baby driver is a solidly entertaining action-thriller with elements of the musical genre thrown in. A pseudo-musical action-thriller if you will. If that puts you off and you’re thinking ‘nah, I won’t like it’ because of the musical angle, don’t – this reviewer is NOT a musical fan, and loved every moment of it. One of the best movies of the year.

5 out of 5 Nerds

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Co-host of the Monday Movie Show, Andrew is a huge movie fan who is into all sorts of things movie related, as well as a fan of all things nerd. In his spare time he likes to work at script writing, that is when he's not spending it on something movie or nerd related!

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