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Baby Driver

Opening Date
20 Jul 2017
NC16 Violence and Coarse Language
113 mins
English - subtitles to be advised
Action, Crime, Thriller
Edgar Wright
Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Bernthal, Ansel Elgort
After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
By Freddy  20 Jul 2017
This quirky love child of 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Drive' will bring you on a fun, thrilling ride along with quirky humour and a killer soundtrack
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There has not been anything like ‘Baby Driver’ this year, in a good way. Written and directed by Edgar Wright, who also did ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ and the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, his signature comedic quirkiness is apparent in this action film. Plus, the film is littered with pop culture references.

If ‘Baby Driver’ can be described with other films, it would be like throwing ‘Drive’ (the 2011 film starring Ryan Gosling) and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ in a blender. From ‘Drive’ we get a charming but reluctant getaway driver who wears the same grey jacket all the time and has an innocent love interest who was unaware of his dangerous occupation. The vintage soundtrack that was given to the main protagonist by his mother, amiable cheesiness, and musicality come from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Apparently Wright even consulted James Gunn to ensure ‘Baby Driver’ and ‘Guardian of the Galaxy vol. 2’ do not feature the same songs.
If you are here for the action, you would not leave disappointed. The film is filled with adrenaline-fueled car chases and violent heists. The film plays on the “one last heist” trope. But the supposed last heist finished so early in the film that we knew it was not the last. What makes the film stand out from, let’s say ‘Fast and Furious’ films is its musicality. There is a certain rhythmic beauty to gunshots and car crashes timed perfectly to the beats of old-timey hits from Queen and Barry White to The Beach Boys.

Despite almost non-stop action, it is the characters who ultimately drive the story. The cast is good all around. Ansel Elgort is nimble and likeable as Baby. The whole film centers around him and he proves capable of carrying the leading role. Lily James, who you might recognise as Disney’s live-action Cinderella, is sweet, innocent, and has a good chemistry with Elgort as Baby’s love interest Debora the diner waitress. Kevin Spacey’s performance as the criminal mastermind Doc is equal parts fatherly and creepy. Jamie Foxx is appropriately annoying as the loud, impulsive Bats, but he sells the character’s volatility well. Jon Hamm and Eiza González as the criminal couple Buddy and Darling gave a fine performance with good chemistry given the little time they had. Hamm flips from friendly kindness to blind vengeance well. Finally, CJ Jones also impresses in his silent role as Baby’s deaf foster father Joseph.

If I were to nitpick this great film, it would be that once you strip the story bare of its style, the story is pretty cheesy. Ultimately, Baby is a knight in shining armor and Debora is a damsel waiting to be rescued to a happily ever after. The romantic parts are sometimes cloyingly sweet. Most, if not all, of the characters lack character depth and development. Wright probably made these choices intentionally as the film’s plot is built on tropes. These weaknesses did not affect my enjoyment of the film. In fact, spending too much time on character development might disrupt the tone and pace of the film. In addition, despite the tropes, the plot remains unpredictable with plenty of twists.

Overall, ‘Baby Driver’ will bring you on a fun, thrilling ride along with quirky humour and a killer soundtrack. Expect an unexpected musical roller coaster ride that will keep you at the edge of your seat. It is the weird mutual friend of ‘La La Land’ and ‘Fast & Furious 8’. It has its cliches and tropes, but ‘Baby Driver’ will probably go down as one of the most unique films of the year.
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