Monday, 31 July 2017

Baby Driver (5 Stars)

From the first few minutes the viewers are unsettled. They want to figure out what the film is about, but the clues are contradictory. Is it a musical? Is it a comedy? Is it an ultra-violent crime story? Soon after the first dazzling car chase we finally figure it out: it's a love story.

Baby is a young man who's the best getaway driver there is. The police can't keep up with him. He out-drives and out-wits them in every car chase. They don't stand a chance.

Baby despises the violence of the men he works with. He's become involved with them by accident. He began his life of crime as a petty criminal, a car thief. It wasn't for financial gain, he just liked fast cars. He made the mistake of stealing the car of a crime boss called Doc (Kevin Spacey). Doc has forced him to work for him to pay back what he owes. The alternative is death. Doc has full faith in Baby's talents, but the other men in his gang don't trust him. At the briefings for robberies Baby sits listening to loud music over headphones. Does this mean he isn't paying attention? Not at all. He can follow the instructions by lip reading, and he remembers every single word.

But it's a love story.

Baby meets a waitress called Debora at a diner. It's love at first sight. He expects to be released from his debt to Doc after one more job, so he can drive away with Debora, but it's not so easy. One more job. After that just one more job. And after that.....

"Baby Driver" wouldn't be "Baby Driver" without its music. There's an erratic soundtrack with music of all styles from the 1970's to today. In every scene the music is appropriate. The action is synced to the music, rather than the other way round. For me the film's highlight is the use of "Hocus Pocus" by Focus during a gun battle. Amazing.

Edgar Wright is a brilliant director. There's no doubt about it. Until now we've thought of him as a maker of comedy films. "Baby Driver" shows that he's capable of more, much more. This is one of the best films of the year.

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