Edgar Wright is a director with an eye for a great shot and an ear for a great tune. Throughout his career his music selections have made certain scenes iconic. Shaun of the Dead and Queen's Don't Stop Me Now instantly springs to mind.
His new film, Baby Driver, is no exception and if anything takes things to a whole new level. This entire movie is painstakingly soundtracked to the point where at points characters movements and gunfire are right on the beat of the track. The music of this film is as much of a character as any of the great cast and plays its role as part of the life of Baby (Ansel Elgort).
Baby works as the designated getaway driver of crime kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey). Forced into this role by an unpaid debt Baby waits for Doc's call and instructions for the next job. Baby needs music not only to drown out the ringing of tinnitus but also a form of comfort blanket. Losing his parents at a young age, Baby sees music as a way of keeping that connection to his family alive as well as using it to bring him focus within the chaos of his 'day job'. A plethora of thugs and psychos are his passengers and music is his escape aid. The tracks selected for each job have a specific rhythm almost acting as a metronome to help keep in the high paced escapes he carries out.
When Baby falls in love with a waitress, Deborah (Lily James), he desperately begins to look for a way out of his underworld existence and dreams of driving off into the sunset with his new squeeze. Inevitably though he can not keep his two worlds apart for very long.
There is much to like about Baby Driver, the aforementioned soundtrack speaks for itself, the incredible driving sequences (which should be experienced on the largest screen possible) , rapid fire dialogue, loveable rogues, convincing psychos and some moments of razor sharp dialogue. Above all these things however, I was most impressed with Ansel Elgort providing an ice cool performance that makes Ryan Gosling's Driver look positively flustered. He is charming, endearing and yet has a dark edge that makes his in car antics believable and provides a level of authenticity.
Baby's relationship with Doc is probably the most interesting thread. He hates what he makes him do but longs to continually impress him. Baby seeks Doc's approval and this keeps him coming back to jobs albeit with a reluctance. His foster father has Baby's affection but Doc's approval is in many ways what he truly seeks.
I really enjoyed Baby Driver, the opening sequence and introduction to Baby's high paced world is one of the most impressive things I've seen on screen in a long time. The conclusion, likewise had all the expected payoffs and a genuine shock moment, adding some needed emotional impact amid the chaos of flying bullets and action. There is a slight lag in the middle of the film but Baby Driver's unique qualities more than adequately balance this out.
Baby Driver is a definite recommendation and the soundtrack will more than likely be added to my music collection very shortly. Please also be advised that on leaving the cinema and returning to your car for the trip home you may drive that little bit faster!
Baby Driver is released in cinemas on 28th June.