#REVIEW: “BABY DRIVER”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
Auteur directors like Edgar Wright are becoming rarer as sequels and franchises continue to dominate the box office week after week. With Baby Driver, Wright has delivered a smart Movie which boasts original characters in an original story doing incredible things. This is a Movie with car chases make the audience catch their collective breaths as if they themselves were in the passenger. A movie where the beats of the music are as important as the rat-a-tat-tat of a gun being fired. A Movie only Edgar Wright could create.
Orphaned after a car accident that took both his parents and left him with a permanent case of Tinnitus, Baby is a professional getaway driver for a rotating gang of thieves led by criminal mastermind, Doc. Although his fellow criminals find him off-putting, he is admittedly “a good kid and a devil behind the wheel” who continues to be Doc’s lucky charm. When he falls in love with diner waitress Debora (Lily James), Baby finds a new reason to hit the road and leave his life of crime behind but first he has to complete one last job for Doc.
With a résumé boasting mainly teen movies, Ansel Elgort seems like an odd choice for the lead in an action movie which boasts a hard R-rating in the States (14A here in Canada). Whether behind the wheel racing through the streets of Atlanta or sliding across the hood of a car as he runs away from the police, Elgort never backs down from the physically challenging role of Baby. He more than holds his own with his heavyweight cast mates and proves that his future in Hollywood will last long after teen heartthrob days are over.
Wright explores the idea that no one is truly who they say they are. Since all the characters use nicknames we rarely have a chance to see who they may have been before they turned to crime. As the Movie unfolds, the characteristics we thought we recognized fade away and slowly reveal the true nature of each person. The only character not granted an arc is Jamie Foxx’s Bats, who remains brilliantly ‘bats’ crazy throughout.
Most movies with great soundtracks have music littered throughout the runtime that do little to move the plot or express what the characters are going through. The Music in Baby Driver seems like as much a character as the members of Doc’s gang. Due to Baby’s Tinnitus, the need for music is almost constant and Wright’s selections run the gamut from Barry White to Kid Koala. The Music is used to cue minute details that may need multiple viewings to fully appreciate.
One of my personal grievances about the state of Film today is the tragic dearth of original scripts. We are drowning in an ocean of remakes, adaptations, and sequels with seemingly no space at the multiplex for anything that isn’t familiar. Baby Driver is the answer to many of my complaints. Although inspired by great films that came before it, Wright introduces sharply written characters, a new twist on an old plot, and an entirely original Movie. Now it’s up to us to prove that we are worthy of this rare gift by going to see Baby Driver this weekend.
Sony Pictures Canada release BABY DRIVER on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.