BABY DRIVER | REVIEW

It’s not every day you get to sit in the same room as director , one of my new fave actors, , and oddly . But it happened and my mind was blown. From the moment I saw the trailer for BABY DRIVER I have been chomping at the bit to see it. I was meant to attend a screening a couple of weeks ago but when a premiere invite came through I had to be introduced to it in that atmosphere. So off Kernel Blake and I headed and a ball we had.

BABY DRIVER is out today from Sony Pictures Australia. It is rated MA15+ and runs for 112mins. 

 

Baby Driver Premiere image of Ansel Elgort, George Miller and Edgar Wright
Baby Driver Premiere image of Ansel Elgort, George Miller and Edgar Wright – pic by

 

Ansel is just gorgeous and funny, George was there to introduce the film and host the QnA, I never knew him and Edgar were good friends. And Lily James shared a lot of visual side boob to the audience. Then there was Edgar, a man the audience treated like a rockstar. I have never attended a premiere where the opening scene gets a full audience applause!

I really wasn’t sure who to admire the most. Lily had a role in DOWNTON ABBEY and this makes me love her without question. I never rated Elgort in the slightest before this but will now watch everything he is in. Miller, while not involved in BABY DRIVER. has made some of my favourite films of all time. And then Edgar – there aren’t enough superlatives.

BY JASON KING

BABY DRIVER SYNOPSIS:

Baby is a young and partially hearing impaired getaway driver who can make any wild move while in motion with the right track playing. It’s a critical talent he needs to survive his indentured servitude to the crime boss, Doc, who values his role in his meticulously planned robberies. However, just when Baby thinks he is finally free and clear to have his own life with his new girl friend, Debora; Doc coerces him back for another job. Now saddled with a crew of thugs too violently unstable to keep to Doc’s plans, Baby finds himself and everything he cares for in terrible danger. To survive and escape the coming maelstrom, it will take all of Baby’s skill, wits and daring, but even on the best track, can he make it when life is forcing him to face the music?

 

Baby Driver Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Darling and Jon Hamm image
Ansel Elgort, , and

 

EDGAR IS A CINEMATIC GOD:

Edgar Wright has made some epic teenage stoner fuelled movies. SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, SCOTT PILGRIM V THE WORLD and more recently THE WORLD’S END. He is back after a four year hiatus with BABY DRIVER and I have to say it – it’s easily my favourite Wright movie. It is matured but hysterical, action beyond belief and basically a movie Tarantino will masturbate to. And to top it off it has one of the best soundtracks in years and one of the best opening scenes in cinematic history.

And this entire movie came about because Edgar heard a song many many years ago called BELLBOTTOMS by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. When he heard this song, over ten years ago, he said he knew it had to be in a heist movie so over time he created that genus. My heart stopped during this musical opening and introduction to Baby (Elgort). Wright has a huge passion for music and somehow has created a perfect symbiotic relationship between the two to present a movie where the soundtrack is a character in the film. It is Baby’s soul.

The script is tight and hysterical with some truly colourful characters. If I didn’t know this was Wright’s film I would have thought it was Taranatino’s. It has some wonderful dialogue and some fantastic little side scenes. I cannot wait to see it again!

 

Baby Driver Ansel Elgort image
Baby Driver Ansel Elgort

 

THE MUSIC:

The music in BABY DRIVER is it’s heart and soul. It is as important a character as Baby himself. Baby has a major ear ringing left over from a car accident as a child. His foster father (that he more looks after) is deaf so they speak through sign language and Baby rarely speaks. He has many MP3 players and has abundant tracks for his many emotions. Baby plays the music to silence the ringing. He can also lip read and his entire life has a soundtrack of his choosing – the home record collection even appears to rival that of Harvey Specter.

Just drool with your ears.

  1. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – ‘Bellbottoms’
  2. Bob & Earl – ‘Harlem Shuffle’
  3. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – ‘Egyptian Reggae’
  4. Googie Rene – ‘Smokey Joe’s La La’
  5. The Beach Boys – ‘Let’s Go Away For Awhile’
  6. Carla Thomas – ‘B-A-B-Y’
  7. Kashmere Stage Band – ‘Kashmere’
  8. Dave Brubeck – ‘Unsquare Dance’
  9. The Damned – ‘Neat Neat Neat’
  10. The Commodores – ‘Easy (Single Version)’
  11. T. Rex – ‘Debora’
  12. Beck – ‘Debra’
  13. Incredible Bongo Band – ‘Bongolia’
  14. The Detroit Emeralds – ‘Baby Let Me Take You (in My Arms)’
  15. Alexis Korner – ‘Early In The Morning’
  16. David McCallum – ‘The Edge’
  17. Martha and the Vandellas – ‘Nowhere To Run’
  18. The Button Down Brass – ‘Tequila’
  19. Sam & Dave – ‘When Something Is Wrong With My Baby’
  20. Brenda Holloway – ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’
  21. Blur – ‘Intermission’
  22. Focus – ‘Hocus Pocus (Original Single Version)’
  23. Golden Earring – ‘Radar Love (1973 Single Edit)’
  24. Barry White – ‘Never, Never Gone Give Ya Up’
  25. Young MC – ‘Know How’
  26. Queen – ‘Brighton Rock’
  27. Sky Ferreira – ‘Easy’
  28. Simon & Garfunkel – ‘Baby Driver’
  29. Kid Koala – ‘Was He Slow (Credit Roll Version)’
  30. Danger Mouse (featuring Run The Jewels and Big Boi) – ‘Chase Me’

 

Baby Driver Ansel Elgort and Lily James image
Ansel Elgort and Lily James

 

THE CAST:

The cast is simply magnificent. Like I said earlier I basically didn’t rate Elgort at all until now but already I want to see his backlog and I will view everything he does into the future. He had a little bit of FOOTLOOSE Kevin Bacon in him mixed with a bit of Christian Slater in TRUE ROMANCE and sprinkled on top with some Gosling from DRIVER. He was acting with some big leaguers in this and he not only matched them, he excelled above them in many scenes and he did it all with limited dialogue.

is one of the greatest alive and he is at his most Spaceyist – you will love him in BABY DRIVER. Jamie Foxx was a little over the top but that was his character too, of all the leads I liked him the least but he brought some great scenes to the movie. The pairing of Hamm and Darling was genius – I loved them together. I would have liked to have seen them more all over each other but they bounced off each other well and when Hamm fires up in the last hour shit gets real!

Lily James was good in the movie but hers was more of a partner to Baby. She was his rock to the life he really wanted. She steps it up in the last hour also. The chemistry between Elgort and James was superb – she was patient with the introvert and he was head over heels in love with her. Their dialogue was very cool.

MY ONLY GRIPES:

Two minor gripes. 1) The movie was about 15mins too long. The pacing dropped about 45mins in and I started worrying I would lose interest but it was probably a good thing because the last hour was high octane out of control action heaven! 2) I think the audience needed to see more chemistry between Baby and Debora. They needed a sex scene or more of a love build before what they go through together in the last hour. I don’t know if I could say I love someone that quick and would she not think he is a fucking psycho when shit gets real – she barley knows the guy. If she was of sound mind she needed to run the other way.

And finally 3) I may have missed a bit, but why were the leads sharing their real names in the getaway car – I just didn’t see the point of it and was unsure why it happened in the first place. Again minor and easily forgiven.

 

Baby Driver Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Edgar Wright, Flea Balzary and Lanny Joon image
Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Edgar Wright, Flea Balzary and Lanny Joon

 

IN CONCLUSION:

BABY DRIVER is one of the best movies of 2017 that will re-affirm the god-like cult status Edgar Wright holds. It is a musical orgy of a film that has a brilliant screenplay, phenomenal casting and car stunts that will leave your mouth agape. It will also see Ansel Elgort elevate from teen heartthrob to global star heartthrob. The movie is worth it alone for one of the best openings in this critics cinema viewing history. And that soundtrack – JUST BUY IT NOW – Bellbottoms is legendary. Vroom vroom – you need this movie in your life stat!

 

JK’S POP SCORE:

KERNEL BLAKE’S POP SCORE:

KERNEL JACK’S POP SCORE:

 

 

 

YOUR CRITIC:

 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.