It has to be said, from the hundreds of films released every year, only about seven reach that precipice of film making each yearly cycle. It stands out. It becomes a cult classic. Maybe a diamond in the rough. It has something special. Baby Driver is one of those…
From the bizarre opening, I was worried. Baby Driver sets up with an acquired taste that even fans of the director’s previous ventures (Shaun Of The Dead, Scott Pilgrim) may struggle to groove into. It’s a flick not as funny as Shaun nor as stylised as Scott and it certainly doesn’t have it’s own ice cream trilogy or graphic novel series to fall back on. It’s a slow worm and a small touch film that feels lost in time: vibrant colours, fast cars, cassettes but that modern American dream mob mentality of our times. To his credit; director Edgar Wright has taken an idea that seems void of soul and baked in repetition only to flip it, giving us a fresh take on the slow dying heist genre. And the audience says, why bother? We have Heat, Reservoir Dogs, Ocean's Eleven, The Killing. After all, ‘Baby Driver’ sounds like a cheap gimmick - the scrawlings of a twelve year old’s hyper imagination. In some cases, you’ll get what you expect. In others, you’ll have your normalities flipped and played upon. How much you enjoy this film will depend on your ability to adapt, acceptance that Baby does less of his driving than originally thought as well as a want/tolerance for some romance.
The best thing Baby Driver does is homage the classics; borrowing a cool card from Pulp Fiction and adding the spirit of a director who seems addled on coke and desperate- nay passionate for original works. This is a Wright picture and a Wright picture revamped. Quick cuts. Clever dialogue. Subtle humour. Love aplenty in each scene. Even if it wasn’t featuring the raw prowess of Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey, it’d be a smash because of the brain behind the camera. Speaking of Spacey, he returns to the movie screen in fine form… close to the acting talents of his 90’s hay days whilst Foxx is used to full potential and then some in a born to be hotshot role. The rest of the roster (Including the lesser known main staple ‘Baby’) deliver like a tank of flaming gasoline. There’s so much surprise here and brilliant performances across the board. Musically; many a gunshot rings in sync with the music, elevating a simple shootout to an adrenaline evoking nailbiter. I’ve rarely encountered that (if at all) in any other picture. The music too, as expected, is pretty exceptional.
Baby Driver is a wave of nostalgia and clever fun rarely seen in movies these days. The middle act focus on romance will either make or break it for viewers but I found it wholly refreshing; feeling like a teenager with dreams of running away as I sip on a white chocolate milkshake and look out with sunglass eyes over an expanse of grassy meadow. It took me to that place. Don’t expect all driving, all heists, all action and accept the ride because I’m sure it will take you places too.