The film of the year so far?
Every once in a while a ﬁlm comes along that you know is going to change things. They become instant cult hits and classics in their own right, spawning years of pop culture fodder for people to indulge. This is one of those ﬁlms.
BABY DRIVER (Cert 15, 113 mins, Dir. Edgar Wright) 5 STARS!
So often do we see ﬁlms that are wasted opportunities. Films that make no usage of the cinematic medium, so much so that they may as well be audio books. Jump to the opposite end of that spectrum and you have the glorious work of Edgar Wright, one of Britain’s ﬁnest exports, using every crayon in the box. But make no mistake, this isn’t style over substance - this is Wright’s best style in years mixed with his most thrilling and heart-wrenching narrative to date.
Centered on Baby (Ansel Elgort), a getaway driver who uses his own personal iPod to soundtrack his high-speed chases, we follow him as he explores the world of organised crime with Doc (Kevin Spacey) and his ever-changing crews that include John Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Flea. But, this isn’t just a crime ﬁlm. It’s evident from the ﬁrst few frames of this picture that Edgar Wright’s sheer creative vision has been let loose on this one. This isn’t just one of the best car-chase ﬁlms of the 21st century, it’s a car chase opera. The hand picked soundtrack, sporting over 30 songs, isn’t just lay over the top. This music has been so carefully chosen and intertwined, having the actual action and dialogue on screen be speciﬁcally choreographed to this music. This is the ﬁrst true action musical, this is the La La Land of heist movies, and let me say, it’s wonderful. Wright also managed to ground the ﬁlm with a deep sense of ethical poise, as Baby cares for his deaf foster father at home, whilst blossoming a new love with waitress Debora (Lily James), the stakes become life-or-death in the tightly wound third of this ﬁlm that creates the feeling that no one is safe.
For those in the know, they will remember that Edgar Wright actually used this idea previously in a music video for Mint Royale starring Noel Fielding, way back in the early 00s. But that wasn’t enough for Wright, he sat on this idea for over two decades, tweaking and developing it into its fully formed state gradually. The beauty of this is that it’s clear there are no accidents in this ﬁlm. Everything is so perfectly crafted, it’s all intricate and full of meaning - and to watch an artist at the top of their game is honestly just pure euphoria.
This is really something special, it doesn't come around very often so I suggest we all appreciate it whilst it here and go see it on the biggest screen possible. This is one of the most original ﬁlms of year and Wright’s best so far. Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate gunﬁre in time to Focus - Hocus Pocus?
XS Manchester film reviewer DAN OLLERHEAD