I got the chance to see an advanced screening of Edgar Wright’s latest film yesterday and it did not disappoint.
First of all, I should probably state that I am an Edgar Wright fan, with his and Simon Pegg’s Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz being up there as two of my favourite comedy films. Having almost grown up watching the very British twists on genre film – such as corruption that goes all the way to the top of the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance in a countryside town, something you’d never get in Serpico – the prospect of a heist film set in Atlanta was intriguing. Would it still have the same idiosyncrasies of other Wright films?
Luckily it did. With a stellar cast, a blinding soundtrack and the dry, offbeat humour Baby Driver is more than just a simple heist film – it is a thriller, a love story and a musical.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) lives in his own world, surrounded by music. From the very first scene cherographed perfectly to Bellbottoms by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, to Baby’s Gene Kelly-esque dance through the street that annoys all other passers by who can’t hear the music pounding in his ears, music is part of the very fabric of the film. It’s how characters relate to Baby – telling stories of siblings to the sound of Queen, or meeting a girl through a love of music and songs about Debora through a pair of shared earphones.
Music pulsates throughout the film, soundtracking shootouts and fight scenes and scenes of hope – with impeccable timing and flare, something that isn’t something often seen in film.
The cast too are great. There’s Kevin Spacey, on form as a criminal mastermind who is both ruthless but also has a heart. Oh, and a nephew who loves Monsters Inc. Lily James brings the perfect amount of innocence and determination to a world that is much dark than the one she is used to. Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Eiza González are also great as Bats, Buddy and Darling, criminals with explosive and distinct personalities who provide the edge of the film – and also some great costumes, I am a big fan of Darling’s purple fur jacket.
Weaving so many different aspects of genre into a film just under two hours long might seem like an impossible task. But it works. And it works well.
And, importantly, its a studio backed film that isn’t a outward blockbusters, it’s not another remake or sequel or part of a wider universe. It’s an auteur film, an Edgar Wright film, something different to anything else you’ll see in the cinemas this year.
Watch it, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.