Bon­nie Baby a cool cus­tomer

Baby Driver (15)

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

Pulp Fic­tion, The Ma­trix, Reser­voir Dogs, Ocean’s Eleven; some films just ex­ude cool from every pore.

Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is one such flick. The Dorset-born direc­tor’s sixth big screen out­ing – and only his sec­ond non-Bri­tish pro­duc­tion af­ter 2010’s in­sane-but-ri­otously en­ter­tain­ing Scott Pil­grim vs. the World – sees the 43-year-old turn his hand to the heist movie.

In do­ing so, he as­sem­bles an eclec­tic cast, led by Ansel El­gort (Di­ver­gent) whose young get­away driver Baby is lured into tak­ing part in a risky scheme pi­o­neered by Kevin Spacey’s crime boss Doc.

A fur­ther twist in the Wright-penned script sees Baby hav­ing to burn rub­ber with the best of them while suf­fer­ing from se­vere tin­ni­tus, which he blocks out by lis­ten­ing to mu­sic.

This ba­si­cally gives Wright an ex­cuse to flood the film with an ar­ray of top tunes in one of the best movie sound­tracks in years; every­one from T Rex and Blur to Beck and The Beach Boys get some air­play.

But Baby Driver is much more than just an ex­cuse to re­fresh your iPod playlist; Wright proves a dab hand at put­ting a fresh spin on a fa­mil­iar genre, not least with his abil­ity to make every­one in­volved feel like a nec­es­sary cog in the ma­chine.

Headed up by El­gort, who is a reve­la­tion as the vul­ner­a­ble, multi-skilled lead, the cast work won­ders to­gether, par­tic­u­larly Spacey in his finest non-tele­vi­sion per­for­mance in over a decade.

Lily James is a world away from her Down­ton Abbey and Cin­derella roles as tough-but­ten­der wait­ress Deb­ora and get­ting back to epit­o­mis­ing cool­ness, Jon Hamm (Buddy), Jon Bern­thal (Griff ) and Eiza González (Dar­ling) are that per­son­i­fied as mem­bers of a hot­tem­pered bank-rob­bing crew with a pen­chant for witty and wacky di­a­logue – and that’s not even tak­ing Jamie Foxx’s cyn­i­cal ca­reer thief Bats into con­sid­er­a­tion.

While Wright is short of old bud­dies Si­mon Pegg and Nick Frost, Baby Driver is al­most as funny as the trio’s Cor­netto tril­ogy es­capades – with a layer of sweet­ness and light miss­ing from Wright’s ear­lier work.

His Cor­netto ca­pers weren’t short of a set piece or two, but with Baby Driver, Wright di­als up the ac­tion; El­gort’s driv­ing skills match Ryan Gosling’s in Drive as Baby spins, smashes and soars across, around, over and through the roads of At­lanta, Ge­or­gia.

Wright’s cam­era is never far away ei­ther, even put­ting the au­di­ence lit­er­ally in the driv­ing seat, and it’s nice to see a more prac­ti­cal, re­al­is­tic ap­proach taken to ve­hic­u­lar se­quences fol­low­ing the sub­ma­rine-bat­tling Fast & Fu­ri­ous car­nage.

It’s fit­ting that two of the four cool flicks I men­tioned at the start of this review were from Quentin Tarantino as Wright’s lat­est is wor­thy of com­par­i­son with his fel­low direc­tor’s best.

Breezy, breath­less and de­fy­ing ex­pec­ta­tions, Baby Driver is well on the road to be­ing crowned one of 2017’s finest.

Tuned in Ansel El­gort pre­pares for another dan­ger­ous heist

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