April 19, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Geek Review: Baby Driver

Edgar Wright's long simmering musical heist film reviewed.

I love the work of Edgar Wright. His comedy is amongst the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, and he’s got a sense of timing that would make one wonder what he could have done with a musical like, I dunno, La La Land.

Maybe we have something close to finding out with his latest, Baby Driver.

Actually, I’ve been wanting to see this movie as soon as I learned about it. The main character, Baby (Ansel Elgort), suffers from tinnitus, and he blasts nearly nonstop music into his ears to distract himself from it. Now, I have tinnitus as well, and while blasting music doesn’t quite drown out the constant ringing I hear in one ear, it does have a hook I can understand.

As it is, Wright’s timing for comedy serves him well with music too. There are a whopping 35 songs on the Baby Driver soundtrack, and Wright personally chose (and reportedly likes) every one of them. The movie opens with Baby doing his thing for a trio of crooks and successfully gets away from the cops while blasting music that times perfectly to his actions behind the wheel. That’s Wright’s gifts at work. Check out the bar brawl scenes in World’s End and you’ll see his gift for the quick cut in an action sequence. Even though Baby Driver isn’t really played much for laughs (there is some really good comedy in it regardless), the entire movie seems to be timed to Baby’s current song-of-choice, and even allows Baby to occasionally bond with other characters, including his deaf foster father Joseph (actual deaf actor CJ Jones).

How did Baby get into this? He owes money to vicious crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey). He’s been working it off and is almost paid off when he meets Debora (Lilly James). Can Baby get the girl and get away from the life he’s been sucked into when he’s facing off against the likes of Doc, a murderous Buddy (Jon Hamm), and a psychotic Bats (James Foxx)?

There are a lot of characters who spend most of the movie known only by a single name.

I really loved the hell out of this movie. Wright’s timing is everywhere, and his script even seems to take advantage of Spacey’s gift for iambic pentameter with his rather poetic dialogue. There are a lot of cool twists and turns, and Wright is clearly putting his stamp on the car chase genre (numerous directors whose work influenced Wright are listed in the closing credits under “Special thanks to”). If anything, the viewer may be surprised which members of the criminal gang end up helping Baby and which ones end up really coming after him when he finally does the expected betrayal. As it is, go see this one. There are enough remakes, sequels, and adaptations out there, that when a high quality original story comes out, these films should be supported. Ten out of ten coffee runs.