All too often, the films we are most looking forward to are the ones that end up disappointing us the most. We build up such high expectations that when we finally get to see the film, it can only be a let down. It happened to me last year with the much-anticipated Minions movie and I was concerned that it would happen again with Baby Driver.
Cornetto Trilogy creator, Edgar Wright’s latest quirky adventure has been lauded far and wide for its inventiveness and style, with critics in awe of its unique look and feel. The superlatives have been flying thick and fast, to the point where you end up thinking that it can’t possibly be that good. Yet it is. It absolutely is. And then some…
This is near flawless film making, from the smart script to the seamless on-street action. What’s more, every single move on the screen is immaculately choreographed to the insanely good soundtrack we hear through Baby’s headphones, as he tries to drown out his tinnitus.
This is a car chase movie like no other, which puts the Fast and the Spurious to shame, not least because all the action is driven, not green screened or CGI. The music, too, is played live into the actors’ ears, so the footsteps, gunshots and every other movement are made to the beat on the set, rather than the beat being added later to sync with the movement.
By all accounts, Edgar Wright was obsessive on set, and it shows. No lounging in a directors chair, watching a monitor for him; he was strapped to the back of the speeding cars, directing the action first hand. He was also disciplined in the editing suite, avoiding the head spinning rapid cut styling that makes Michael Bay movies so hard to watch. Baby Drive is alive with breathtaking action, but that action is so slick and stylish it feels like it is choreographed by Busby Berkeley.
The result is a film that is at the same time effortlessly elegant to watch, yet keeps you right on the edge of your seat from the opening car chase to (almost) the final credits.
In its rare five star review, Empire magazine says you won’t see another film like it this year, and they are right. In fact, you may never see another film like this. While there are countless nods to its inspirations, from Blues Brothers to Walter Hill’s The Driver, from The French Connection to True Romance, this is an utterly original movie that never stops amazing you with the skill, flair and sheer attention to detail of its writer / director.
When a critic as busy as the BBC’s Mark Kermode finds time to see a film three times in the space of a couple of weeks, you know it is something very special. I have no doubt that my second, and even third viewings will also reward me with so much that I missed first time around.
If you love cinema, Baby Driver is the chance to appreciate the art form at its very best. If you love music, Baby Driver will put a spring in your step as you bounce out of the screening. But perhaps most impressively of all, if you are tired of predictable blockbuster, franchise cinema, Baby Driver could just be the movie that will renew your faith in film.
It really is every bit as original, as stylish and as accomplished as the critics would have you believe. Do not miss it.