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Baby, a young getaway driver with a penchant for super-loud soundtracks to drown out his tinnitus falls in love with the girl of his dreams. Seeing a way out of his criminal life, Baby must face the music and make deadly decisions on one final ill-fated heist.
Taking cues from the likes of Gone in 60 Seconds, Bullit, The Getaway, The French Connection and The Driver, Edgar Wright imbues his first non-comedic feature with high octane gusto and an endearing romantic streak. The premise is straight forward and tonally we start off with the hallmark, lighter traits and visual nuances of Wright, which steadily metamorphose into a darker, thriller’esque tone in the final reels. Opening with Baby’s penultimate job, we are made aware of the director’s influences in the most bombastic and rambunctious way possible.
The use of diegetic music and the action’s rhythmical elements warming us to the notion that this is a good kid doing bad things for the right reasons.
The fact that Ansel Elgort (Baby) has no trouble holding his own against the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx says a great deal about how right he is to be the central force in this film. Coming across like Risky Business’ Tom Cruise by way of ’77 Han Solo, the character of Baby is charming and charismatic. He’s the antithesis of the gruff, man’s man, machismo-fuelled architype of the 1970s but retains the silent, enigmatic allure of the period. Lily James’ Debora works harmoniously with Elgort’s Baby and the two share a wonderful energy but I was hoping for a more rounded out character for James to sink her teeth into.
If I were to nit-pick I’d say the film tends to hit the breaks in the romance-oriented scenes as Wright is far better suited to car chases and gunplay than he is the lovey dovry stuff.
Baby Driver is at its best when the pedal hits the metal and the soundtrack is blasted at its loudest. Taking on an almost Musical quality during the action set-pieces, this is the second film this year that demonstrates the impactful, destructive cacophony of gunfire. The fact that both Baby Driver and Free Fire feature an arms deal gone awry adds a wonderful kinship between these two outstanding throwbacks to 70s action cinema. The blend of humour, romance and violence is deftly handled and you get the impression that Baby Driver acts as Wrights first foray into more “serious” features. After the pulse pounding conclusion ramps up the tension I wouldn’t be averse to seeing Edgar Wright handle a straight horror/ thriller. Between the killer soundtrack, the assured tone and the balls to the wall action, Baby Driver is one of the more thrilling films of 2017 so far.
Baby Driver is released in theatres 28th June.
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