Bonnie Baby a cool customer
Baby Driver (15)
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