What is common between Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson and Edgar Wright? Their distinct Style! These directors stitch together a movie with a signature style of their own which can be identified by anyone who has watched at least a couple of movies made by these stalwarts. If it’s gore and utter carnage painted with a mean swagger by Quentin or the pronounced visual palate used by Wes, the audience notices the ‘style’ which the director is trying to achieve even as he entwines complex plots and sketches characters arcs in the movie. Edgar Wright’s filmography shines bright with it’s humour-married-with-action scripts. Be it Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, he includes a lot of comedic pastiche to original screenplay. You cannot bracket him into a league and that is why I call Edgar Wright a legend already. With Baby Driver, he introduces a parallel genre, which can be called ‘Musical Heist movie’.
Baby Driver is Fast and the Furious on a weekend of uncontrolled drug abuse! (N.B.- screengobblr does not promote substance abuse). Yes, I called it! I have never been viscerally connected to the Fast and the Furious movies. They are sparkling pieces of CGI and brawn, but too phoney and superficial for me to be invested in. Baby Driver on the other hand is 90% real action, shot on the freeways of Atlanta with stars like Jamie Foxx and John Hamm driving around in fast cars, with the help of stunt coordinators of course. The movie started of as a cool idea which came to Edgar Wright almost 20 years ago when he was listening to “Bellbottoms” by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and immediately re-imagined the song as a background score for a heist sequence. So much so that he had to write an entire script around this concept. And we cannot thank him enough for doing so.
The very first sequence of the movie stands out, as Baby (the baby-faced Ansel Elgort) drops and picks up three bank robbers, all the while listening to the aforementioned song. The sequence reminded me of the movie The Usual Suspects where the actual logistics of the heist took back seat to the character development and finding the snitch in the group. Here too, the camera stays put on Ansel as he grooves to the beats of this classic 1994 song. In the very next sequence we see a continuous shot of Ansel carrying coffee for the ‘men’ doing the dirty work which establishes his position in the entire scheme of things as just an unfortunate getaway driver. The ‘men’ plan out the dirty job with a surgeon’s precision while Baby sits there and listens and does something which can only be attributed to his age. He records the conversations between Doc (show-runner played by Kevin Spacey) and the changing group of criminals and makes music out of that! This weird habit of his lands him into trouble at a later stage, but we as an audience nod in approval, because come on, the music is goooood! Which gets me to the main character in the entire movie…the foot tapping, mellifluous, hope-you-don’t-have-a-neck-spasm-because-it’s-gonna-shake music. I did not go into this movie expecting to see choreography of bank robbery scenes on 1990s songs with great guitar solos and drums. But this movie opened my eyes to this idea and now I am watching other heist movies like The Italian Job, The Town and mentally selecting a song which will go with the scenes in those. It’s fun, trust me!
The cast could not have been more apt for this adrenaline thumping ride from start to the finish line. Kevin Spacey borrows the suave from his other role in one of his TV shows you may or may not have heard of, to play the lead ‘Card’ sharper. Jamie Foxx plays the hot-headed Bats who is constantly annoyed with Baby’s calm self while John Hamm is the enigmatic and charming member who has a past. The only spoke of the wheel I was unsure about was the casting of the lead. I should have known Edgar Wright better. Ansel is a revelation in this movie. He is a God behind the wheels, soft towards the woman of his dreams and a typical aloof self among men who do the dirty. The romance between his character and that of Lily James is a bit hastened, but gives the second act of the movie the desired impetus and is a precursor to the blazing final act. Also, some of the scenes between the lovebirds play in black and white, inside the mind of our lead, giving it a forlorn feeling with sadness writ large as he knows that the idyllic settings will never be a reality.
Baby Driver is the best heist movie of the year and we at screengobblr are calling it a future cult movie in this new genre of Musical-car chase movies. Edgar Wright shows us what we were missing in the last few years that he has stayed away from making a mainstream movie. Welcome back good sire!
gobblpoint: Great music, car chases, romance, Edgar Wright, Kevin Spacey, Don Draper looking daper, Jamie Foxx running his motor mouth, lovely women……sold yet??
Disclaimer: The images used in this post are the sole property of the makers of this film and are not owned by us in any form whatsoever.