Edgar Wright’s kinetic resume—Shawn of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim Versus the world—proves he’s no stranger to mastering rhythm and motion in film. Some have reduced his most recent movie, Baby Driver to nothing but a series of music videos. But Wrights direction, writing, and editing—and hell, even his music choices—elevate Baby Driver to audio visual dance.
I apologize if you just threw up in your mouth at that sentence, but Baby Driver gushes with heart. Something I long for in movies. Which easily ranks it as the best film of the summer, for me. Hell, I even broke a three month hiatus from reviews to try an convince a few of you assholes to go out and see it. I’ve been busy burying myself in a manuscript.
Back to the point: The Baby Driver moves.
Baby, our protagonist, stands out like a sore thumb in a neo noir world. He owns bejeweled I-pods and dances while he butters his foster father’s toast—to the edges. He records his criminal doings for the hell of it, so that he can remix them into songs. He doesn’t belong to the criminal underworld, but his skill set as a driver sets him apart from any competition which means that he rubs shoulders with crazies and coke fiends alike. As one might expect, he meets a girl and wants out of the game. But nothing’s that easy, Baby.
The vibrant visual nature of Baby Driver enhances the rudiments of the story. Hell, the constant primary colours in the film may be Wrights nod to the rudimentary elements of his crime story. Either way, the bold colour palette, jumps out of the screen, especially in a laundry matt sequence, where the tumbling reds, blues, and yellows distract one from the dialogue. The music makes you want to move. The stand out sequence is the opening chase set to Bellbottoms. One leaves the theatre wanting to drive.
The characters jump off the page with clear motivations, however deranged they may be—at least, in the case of Jamie Foxx’s character, Bats. Hazard a guess how he gained that nomenclature, dude? The criminals have their pathos. A bonny and Clyde duo of Hamm and Gonzalez sympathize with Baby’s passion for driving to just the right song. Spacey’s excited diatribes about Baby being a damn good kid and Devil behind the wheel, position him as an off-beat paternal character in this funky crime story.
Again one could denote the film to a series of music videos but they would ignore the heart, soul, and eye for detail that went into making this film. Into lining up each song with each scene. Each lyric with each frame. Wright story boarded with each song in mind, hence the graffiti on the walls that announce the next dance move or lyric.
Not withstanding, the bloody arduous task of story boarding the some of Wrights elaborate edits. Like zooming into Baby’s sun glasses during a heist briefing, to find the reflection of the heist vehicle inside his wayfarer frames. As the camera zooms out it reveals the glass reflection of the vehicle to be the glass face of the bank that they’re about to rob. Or the edit soon after that smash cuts Baby from a parking garage to a junk yard, standing, of course, in perfect continuity.
These aren’t impossible, but that doesn’t make them any less masterful. Most don’t notice these edits: a true compliment to the editors and Wright for cranking out a lean mother-fucking movie. This is not the greatest Wright Film to grace the silver screen. But it’s a damn slick driving flick with engaging characters, fast cars, and kick ass soundtrack. Oh, and did I mention it moves. ‘Cuz it fucking moves.