Directed by Edgar Wright
A talented, young getaway driver Baby relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. When he meets the girl of his dreams, Baby sees a chance to ditch his criminal life and make a clean getaway. But after being coerced into working for a crime boss, he must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.
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★★★★½ review by Tyler Jacob on Letterboxd
What if Drive was funny?
★★★★½ review by Aaron Hendrix on Letterboxd
Don't feed me any more lines from Monsters Inc. It pisses me off.
Full review coming to talkfilmsociety.com soon.
But, Edgar Wright's latest is *AMAZING*. Half-music propelled heist film, half-Bonnie and Clyde-esque (kinda) love story. First scene alone cemented this as one of my favorites of the year and probably won't drop very far even by the end of the year.
Bump this up to the top of your need-to-watch lists.
★★★★½ review by Jacob Knight on Letterboxd
Pop chaos. An amalgamation of forty years of action cinema grammar, all set to a meticulously curated playlist of face melters. The coolest marriage of music and the moving image since STREETS OF FIRE. Walter Hill would be so damn proud.
★★★★½ review by kevinyang on Letterboxd
Music has the ability to completely transform a film. However, it’s usually seen as a complement of sorts, a mood-crafter that assists in furthering the story and themes. It’s clearly essential, but it’s usually viewed as a secondary element unless you’re watching an overt musical. Baby Driver isn’t an overt musical; it’s a musical and a love story and a crime thriller and an homage all rolled up into one glorious package, and it doesn’t just utilize music as a complement to the story. In fact, music dictates everything from the editing to the acting to the directing, lingering in certain scenes and blasting in others. It’s the rock solid foundation of the entire film, and Wright uses different musical cues to set up the very structure of his plot. It’s a thoroughly engrossing relationship between song and screen, and from the exquisite opening sequence to the final shot, it plays out in a confident, exhilarating fashion.
Ansel Elgort is wonderful in the leading role. Wright dispenses with lengthy exposition and character development because he can certainly afford to, but Elgort manages to convincingly sell his character’s plight and get us to care about the journey. Seasoned pros like Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm are brilliant in their roles, the dialogue smoothly rolling off of their tongues as they deliver performances full of menace and humor in equal measures. Thankfully, Hamm gets a sizable role, and everyone who hasn’t had Mad Men in his or her life gets to see just how great this beautiful man is. Edgar Wright understands his dialogue and his actors and his style, and he is undoubtedly an incredible director in his prime (he also sure knows how to shoot an action scene). He’s in the midst of a hell of a stride right now, the likes of which I’ve seen from filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino. This is his passion project, his expression of love for the history of music and film. It’s a beautiful blend of style and substance. It’s big, confident, and kinetic filmmaking from someone who clearly respects the craft and knows exactly what he wants to accomplish. It’s a film about life, love, and hitting the road with some great music, and it’s truly something special. 2017 cinema has a new high bar to clear.
A- (but very close to an A)
*There's a "Blue Song" reference in there (aside from the overall similarities of course), see if you catch it.
★★★★½ review by Ben Scanga on Letterboxd
The summer blockbuster season has officially started and boy am I excited! After Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2, Alien: Covenant and the surprisingly decent Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, there's nowhere we can go but up. But to be perfectly honest, I wasn't necessarily looking forward to Baby Driver. Sure it was constantly boasting Edgar Wright's usually quick and quirky style, but I kind of assumed it was just going to crash and burn due to festival hype... But boy was I wrong, oh boy, oh boy was I wrong.
The film opens on Baby (yes, his real name is Baby, B-A-B-Y baby) sitting in a car outside of a bank with three passengers. As soon as he presses play on his iPod, the film seems to press play as well. The three masked passengers leave the car and head into the bank. What then plays out right in front of our very eyes is a bank robbery (from Baby's perspective) perfectly in-sync with the music baby is listening to. Edgar Wright even acknowledges that Baby sets up his music so the actions of the criminals he's driving are in time with his music (I.E, a discussion goes on for a bit longer than expected prior to a heist and right before the masked criminals leave to get the heist underway, Baby stops them and says "let me restart the song".) As soon as the masked criminals get back into Baby's car for a quick getaway, we are instantly shown that he is much smarter than to just step on the gas and drive forward. Instead, he slams the car into reverse and drifts out of there in a fashion no one would expect. There's absolutely no sweat off Baby's back as he pulls off the most insane stunts that you would only expect from the most experienced drivers just before arriving at getaway car number two, abandoning the other and making their way back to their hideout from there. This is just the first five minutes of Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, a film that uses visual character development to its advantage by never creating a dull moment. As I've just shown, we are not even a quarter-way through the first act and we already know more about Baby than we do about the main characters in most exposition-filled blockbusters. It also helps a great deal that Wright is just a mastermind when it comes to this kind of film-making.
Edgar Wright has always been someone that I greatly appreciate. After making one of the few perfect comedies out there (The Worlds End) and a cult-classic that my friends and I will continue to quote until our dying days (Scott Pilgrim Vs The World), I was really wondering how he would go about making a film that would reach out to all genres. I always hoped someone could pull off something like this but I do think this is the first time as of late that someone has executed genres like romance, action, comedy, even some hints of thriller in there so flawlessly that it looks like it should be the standard. The best part is that Wright never compromises the tone while he's balancing all these different genres. He never puts the narrative on pause for a stupid gag or throws in a random action scene for no other reason than to put it in the trailer. His films have always had a sense of constant flow to them and this is no exception.
From the trailers, the casting looked perfect. Everyone seemed to fit their character perfectly and seamlessly read off their lines like it was something they would actually say in a conversation. What really got me concerned though was the actors that were hired to play the parts. Up until this point, Ansel Elgort has given me no reason at all to take him seriously as an actor. He was fine in The Fault in Our Stars but was absolutely unbearable in all of the Divergent films, I couldn't bare to watch him take down this entire movie. I guess it really just matters on the source material that he was given but he was great here! He pulls off a performance that isn't just charismatic and genuinely fun to watch but one where he actually shows off some serious acting chops. Elgort doesn't just keep his face blank like a robot when the camera isn't focusing on him, you can tell when he's upset, happy or just feeling "groovy" just by his facial expressions (and of course, he has wonderful chemistry with Ms. Lily James)
Coming from someone who is a gigantic fan of both movies and music, this was so satisfying. Edgar Wright makes his films so that there is something at least everyone can appreciate and Baby Driver is no exception. With the narrative being so heavily built around music, they had the chance to complement their wonderful action scenes with some brilliant music. I'm not going to lie, I felt goosebumps on my arms when they played Brighton Rock by Queen during the contained (but just as grand) ending fight scene in that parking garage. And that is not all folks! We've also got Beck, Golden Earring, Simon and Garfunkel and even Run The Jewels at one point. Having been extremely dissatisfied leaving Free Fire, expecting a lot more classic rock songs scattered throughout, this was an extremely satisfying surprise.
Honestly, I really dug Baby Driver. It's a fun, refreshing and ambitious film that won't leave my memory for an extremely long time. It has a beautiful color pallet and is already boasting this through its new motion poster that came out recently but did you really expect an Edgar Wright film to be visually uninteresting? There's something in it for everyone so if you were like me and didn't think this looked very good, I'm telling you to reconsider right now and be there opening night!
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