The South Bank Review Winter 2017 | Baby Driver – Review
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Baby Driver – Review

(l to r) Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), Baby (Ansel Elgort) and Bats (Jamie Foxx) discuss the next heist in TriStar Pictures' BABY DRIVER. Photo by: Wilson Webb. Copyright: ©2017 TriStar Pictures, Inc. and MRC II Distribution Company L.P. All Rights Reserved.

 

From the first shot of Edgar Wright’s latest film Baby Driver, it becomes clear to the audience that what will follow is something special. The sense of action is instantly set up as the outside of a bank is shown and then the wheel of a red Subaru pulls up. Within the first five to six minutes a robbery takes place and a police chase ensues, that is executed brilliantly, with a high level of tension. But at the heart of everything is the music that carries not only the sequence but also the entire film, where it is a central and integral part to the natural flow of the story.

This particular story involves Baby (Ansel Elgort), who works as a getaway driver for a crime boss, who as a result of tinnitus listens to music to aid him in both work and life. Through this criminal lifestyle he’s involved with numerous figures when carrying out robberies, most importantly the core supporting characters of Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez) and Bats (Jamie Foxx). As the criminal life surrounds him, Baby is keen to get away, not least when he meets a young waitress, Debora (Lily James).

The direction by Wright is something that is seen in his previous filmography but in this film his work stands at a much higher artistic level. What makes Baby Driver so great is that it is a film of both style and substance. From the outset the car chases are both thrilling and seem almost natural, and the audience is invested in hoping that the characters succeed in their actions. However what works so well, and how well Wright pulls it off, is the very use of music as the backdrop for what unfolds. The actions and movements of the actors are in sync with the music that is simultaneously playing, which not only allows for the film to seamlessly flow in a natural way but likewise reinforces Wright’s work as something both unique and special.

In the midst of the action, the dialogue is good at breaking levels of tension but also an example of comedic writing that goes together well with the plot and progression of the story. The narrative itself does not seem to go off from its intended direction, and everything that the camera follows is efficient, precise and brilliantly executed. The cast itself does a good job in supporting the director’s intentions with committed performances and the film’s turn of events are almost unexpected. As a result the audience is left surprised by the actions undertaken by certain characters but this also leads to the film’s final act being both concluded very well and also having a sense of originality that does not follow the typical clichés of its specific genre.

Baby Driver ultimately succeeds in delivering a film that excites but also genuinely allows the audience watching wanting to discover more, yet by the end of the story being both satisfied and appreciative enough of the journey that has been experienced.

Awais Iqbal
Awais_tw@hotmail.com

Hailing from East London, Awais has been writing short stories and poetry since a very young age. At the same time his interest in reading helped spur his imagination whilst also providing influence and inspiration in his writing. He got his first taste of published work by being included in the Young Writers collection of poetry in primary school. The most important works that have had an effect on Awais are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and the poetry of Charles Bukowski because of their sense of realism, which he aims to include in his own writing . Likewise his interests in the arts and media, specifically film, television and music, have only further helped him realise and extend on his own thoughts and ideas, which have subsequently been explored in his poetry and short stories. Awais is currently in the final year of his English with Creative Writing degree and hopes to take his passion for writing a step further in the future, whilst also developing and further honing the skills he has learnt in the last couple of years.