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article imageReview: ‘Baby Driver’ frontrunner for best summer action movie Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jun 29, 2017 in Entertainment
Edgar Wright’s ‘Baby Driver’ offers non-stop action set to an incredible soundtrack, featuring a stellar cast playing iconic roles.
Although the musical’s heyday is long past, it has seen somewhat of revival in recent years. While La La Land is a throwback to the classic feel and style of the big budget productions, another film has to some extent reimagined the genre to incorporate a more contemporary approach to the old school pictures. While at first glance, Baby Driver doesn’t look like a musical, it certainly shares some elements with the finely tuned genre.
Due to a childhood accident, Baby (Ansel Elgort) has tinnitus and is constantly listening to one of his many iPods to drown out the endless ringing in his ears. He is also the best getaway driver in the city and Doc (Kevin Spacey) has used him for every job he’s overseen since they met several years ago — including two recent heists with a couple of unconventional teams. However, Baby’s employment isn’t voluntary — he owes Doc a debt and he’s almost done paying. Just as Baby is about to earn his freedom, he meets a beautiful waitress named Debora (Lily James) who agrees to run away with him. Of course, when you work with impulsive killers and lunatics, even the best laid plans are likely to go awry. Convinced to do one more final heist before leaving a life of crime, Baby is sent down a road with no off ramp.
Writer/director Edgar Wright wanted to make a movie set entirely to the music of a particular character, thus spawning the idea for Baby and his related condition. However, making the film part love story, part heist movie was pure genius. The stellar soundtrack is an unconventional mashup of various genres, old and new songs, and countless tempos. From Martha and the Vandellas’ “Nowhere To Run” to Queen’s “Brighton Rock” to Beck’s “Debra”, Baby has excellent yet eclectic taste in music. And while the music is not always at the forefront of a scene, when it is its presence is felt through every movement.
Wright hired a choreographer to help design the action to match the soundtrack. Thus, when Baby and Debora go to a fancy restaurant for a romantic dinner, the way they enjoy their meal is in sync to the song heard in the foreground. Similarly, a shootout is set to the tune of “Tequila”, which is playing on Baby’s iPod at the time. He also loves to lip sync and dance wherever he is as if no one is watching, like when he struts down the street to the tune of “Harlem Shuffle.”
The opening getaway is a magnificent car chase that rivals any seen in The Transporter or The Fast and the Furious. Baby truly has skills, gliding into high-speed turns and effortlessly travelling backwards into oncoming traffic. It’s a wonder Doc doesn’t want to lose him. But even after witnessing his talents behind the wheel, some still question his abilities because they think the music is a crutch. Yet whether on foot or in a car, Baby has a knack for finding places to hide and escaping tight situations. And best of all, it’s all carried out with a terrific sense of humour.
His assorted, criminal team members are played by an array of top notch, recognizable actors. However, what makes this even more noteworthy is they’re essentially portraying caricatures of typical bad guys. Jon Hamm and Eiza González are the head-over-heels, kill-for-each-other Bonnie and Clyde types. Jamie Foxx is the crazy, trigger-happy, life-long felon who doesn’t know fear. Jon Bernthal, Flea and others play the less intelligent delinquents that will likely have short careers. Spacey is the criminal mastermind who sees and knows all, staying one step ahead of everyone almost all the time. And Elgort gets to play the guy next door — an all-around good kid who got mixed up with the wrong people.
There is so much good in this movie, it leaves no room for bad. Those looking for something original at theatre will not be disappointed.
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm
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