Baby Driver? 'There's not much else to compare it to'

Posted June 28, 2017

He lives with his elderly, wheelchair-bound foster father Joseph (the wonderful C.J. Jones), who is deaf, which might seem too obvious an irony in a story about a kid who's ruled by music.

But they will probably be the only ones. "It's like taking a history class and watching movies; Edgar watches every old movie there is to make his movies the way they are, and that's why they're so great". It's the subject of several in-jokes in the film and then, in the last instance of film matching itself to music, "Baby Driver" finally acknowledges that it cribbed its title from the Simon and Garfunkel song of the same name.

Crime comedy Baby Driver has been causing a buzz since it premiered earlier this year, with critics praising the inventiveness of this soundtrack-driven caper. With them, it is darn near a great one.

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The story revolves around a twentysomething named Baby (Ansel Elgort) who can basically do anything he wants in a vehicle, as long as he's got his tunes playing on his iPod. Baby is beholden to crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey) and says little while working with hardened criminals (Jamie Foxx and Mad Men's Jon Hamm, among others). There's the proverbial One Last Job. Later, before a post office heist the next day, Baby tries to slip away in the middle of the night. Baby's not your typical bad guy, though.

Is it because we all drive, and someone has to be the best? He does it because he has to. To drown out the din, Baby blasts a constant soundtrack, which propels his nifty getaway moves. Turns out he's got a killer case of tinnitus, the result of a vehicle accident when he was a child. When he was seven, he lost both his parents and developed tinnitus, which is a ringing in your ears.

You could say he's back in the driver's seat. It's a necessity. To him, it's like air. It's a movie geek, fast vehicle, vroom-vroom fantasy come to life.

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Like Tarantino, there's a feeling that Wright's career is essentially a journey through his favourite genres, here stopping at '70s-style driver movie.

Wright worked on Ant-Man for almost 8 years - starting even prior to the release of Iron Man - but left the project in 2014, shortly before the start of production, citing creative differences with Marvel. Wright enlivens things by making it feel like one continuous shot, as Elgort/Baby sidesteps other pedestrians, spins around lightpoles and bounces to the beat, but something about it rings false. Baby is the only constant in those crews, a good-luck charm Doc is reluctant to get rid of. Baby falls in love with waitress Debora (Lily James) essentially at first sight, and while the actors have nice chemistry, their love story is as loosely sketched as the platitudes in a throwaway pop song.

"I think when you get an opportunity, especially at the studio level, to do a film that's not a prequel, or a sequel or a reboot or an extension of a universe or some kind of version..." So when the Cinema Society hosted a special screening of Edgar Wright's latest work at the Metrograph on Monday, many were quick to come out. Like, for example, the time Baby goes on a coffee run set entirely to Bob & Earl's "Harlem Shuffle".

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