Baby (Ansel Elgort) has resorted to a life of crime before he had even got his license. Working for gangster, Doc (King Spacey) as a exceptional getaway driver, he is an unrivaled talent behind the wheel - his skill underpinned by the playing of music throughout a heist. It helps him drown out the tinnitus that was sustained from a childhood accident. Then he meets Deborah (Lily James) and seeks an escape from his criminal life in order to get the girl...
Just as the music provides Baby with a means of coping with day to day life with his audio hindrance, the soundtrack contributes to the very narrative structure of the film. It's opening scene, a high octane car chase overlaid with 'Bellbottoms' by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Terri White of Empire dubbed it, a 'car chase opera' and director, Edgar Wright commented that 'this would make for a great car chase' when listening to it's palpable energetic tone.
In an attempt to pay off an overwhelming debt to his employer, Baby has been speedily ricocheting through the Atlanta streets for years. Despite being embedded in his unlawful entourage, he seems out of place and yet, an essential member of the team. When he's at home, he is caretaker for his deaf foster father, 'Pops' (CJ Jones) and like much like in real life, Elgort's Baby mixes an eclectic soundtrack from covert recordings of conversations throughout the day. In his treasured box of tapes, we see a glimpse of a weathered cassette, 'MOM' - alluding to Baby's tragic past.
On visiting his frequent diner haunt, he meets waitress, Debora - a classic tale of boy meets girl, she croons her way into his life, singing 'B-A-B-Y' by Carla Thomas. It's like a scene from La La Land with a David Lynch aesthetic.
Other than a common interest in music, they both yearn to get the hell out of dodge. Until, Doc summons his faithful chauffeur for another heist - ruining any plans for the young couple to drive off into the proverbial sunset. Despite their magnetic chemistry, a lot is left unsaid between the two of them. Deborah lacks character depth touching on the periphery but never fully committing. She insinuates that she was a carer for her mother and how her sister was always more fortuitous in life, not divulging any further detail on either matter. A missed opportunity?
Much like the wealth of supporting cast seen in the likes of Freefire, it is arguably Baby Driver's strongest asset. Kevin Spacey provides a questionable paternal figure in kingpin, Doc, an amalgam of impending threat and comedic relief (see above quote). For Wright's own Bonnie and Clyde duo, Buddy (Jon Hamm) & Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), an ex Wall Street banker that ran off with the stripper - complete with gold hoops and fake nails. The whole nine yards of cliche. Then finally there is Bats (Jamie Foxx), who uses his drug custom to fuel his robbery habit. As deadly as he is funny.
Baby is a classic case of getting in with the wrong crowd, despite his questionable career choices you know he's not all bad. Wright spoke about his dual sided persona, "you meet him, and he's a bad ass in his profession, and then immediately afterwards you start to meet the real kid. It's an interesting dichotomy, that he's really good at a job he should not be doing."
Edgar Wright knows how to revolutionise a 'genre, "there might be music, and there might be choreography but this is not your everyday musical". The films D.O.P, Bill Pope described it as a postmodern musical; "there's no singing and dancing in the street bu the world acts to music." With a stellar cast and genuine laugh out loud moments, Baby Driver is one of my favourite films of the year thus far.
Baby Driver is out in cinemas on 28th June.
Also, I haven't stopped listening to the soundtrack since Tuesday nights viewing, if you would like to check it out for yourself, click here.
This evening was all thanks to the Cineworld Unlimited Club, as an Unlimited member I get access to exclusive access to preview screenings and upcoming releases - for as little as £17.40 its a bargain. I am not affiliated with Cineworld, all views are my own.