Baby Driver floors it
All too often, the films we are most looking forward to are the ones
that end up disappointing us the most. We build up such high expectations that
when we finally get to see the film, it can only be a let down. It happened to
me last year with the much-anticipated Minions movie and I was concerned that
it would happen again with Baby Driver.
Cornetto Trilogy creator, Edgar Wright’s latest quirky adventure has
been lauded far and wide for its inventiveness and style, with critics in awe
of its unique look and feel. The superlatives have been flying thick and fast, to
the point where you end up thinking that it can’t possibly be that good. Yet it
is. It absolutely is. And then
This is near flawless film making, from the smart script to the
seamless on-street action. What’s more, every single move on the screen is
immaculately choreographed to the insanely good soundtrack we hear through
Baby’s headphones, as he tries to drown out his tinnitus.
This is a car chase movie like no other, which puts the Fast and the
Spurious to shame, not least because all the action is driven, not green
screened or CGI. The music, too, is played live into the actors’ ears, so the
footsteps, gunshots and every other movement are made to the beat on the set,
rather than the beat being added later to sync with the movement.
By all accounts, Edgar Wright was obsessive on set, and it shows. No
lounging in a directors chair, watching a monitor for him; he was strapped to
the back of the speeding cars, directing the action first hand. He was also
disciplined in the editing suite, avoiding the head spinning rapid cut styling
that makes Michael Bay movies so hard to watch. Baby Drive is alive with
breathtaking action, but that action is so slick and stylish it feels like it
is choreographed by Busby Berkeley.
The result is a film that is at the same time effortlessly elegant to
watch, yet keeps you right on the edge of your seat from the opening car chase
to (almost) the final credits.
In its rare five star review, Empire magazine says you won’t see
another film like it this year, and they are right. In fact, you may never see another film like this. While
there are countless nods to its inspirations, from Blues Brothers to Walter
Hill’s The Driver, from The French Connection to True Romance, this is an
utterly original movie that never stops amazing you with the skill, flair and
sheer attention to detail of its writer / director.
When a critic as busy as the BBC’s Mark Kermode finds time to see a
film three times in the space of a couple of weeks, you know it is something
very special. I have no doubt that my second, and even third viewings will also
reward me with so much that I missed first time around.
If you love cinema, Baby Driver is the chance to appreciate the art
form at its very best. If you love music, Baby Driver will put a spring in your
step as you bounce out of the screening. But perhaps most impressively of all,
if you are tired of predictable blockbuster, franchise cinema, Baby Driver
could just be the movie that will renew your faith in film.
It really is every bit as original, as stylish and as accomplished as
the critics would have you believe. Do not miss it.