Baby Driver has 5-star licence to thrill


Director: Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World)

Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez, Flea, Sky Ferreira.

Rating: *****

The road goes on for revver … but where will it take him?

THIS is your cinematic traffic report for the week commencing Thursday July 13th.

Put your foot down and keep your eyes up, because all roads lead to Baby Driver.

If you think the Fast & Furious franchise is the last word in cars, crashes, chases and hi-octane heists, then this brilliant, dynamically creative movie is going to mow you down.

For Baby Driver rewrites the four-wheeled film textbook on how to tear up tarmac with style, substance and spectacularly syncopated stunts that just never, ever let up.

Ansel Elgort (no longer to be remembered as the smug dreamboat in The Fault In Our Stars) has the title role of Baby, a highly skilled and decidedly enigmatic young getaway driver going nowhere until he completes one last job for big-time bank-robbing mastermind Doc (Kevin Spacey).

media_cameraTo paraphrase
Dirty Dancing (you didn’t see that coming, did you?):
nobody puts Baby in a slow lane.

Now Baby might look like a rube just out of high school, but he is a fully grown monster behind the wheel.

The heavier the traffic — and the harder the police pursuit cars come after him — is just how Baby likes it.

Let the record show that as a movie, Baby Driver isn’t merely looking to fuel an audience’s collective need for speed.

Music, and more particularly, sound are integral additives to Baby Driver’s powerful storytelling engine.

Baby suffers from a rare hearing disorder contracted in childhood, which has left him with a searing buzz in both ears. The only way he can drown out that persistent noise is with an ever-present supply of music.

Therefore throughout the film, Baby is plugged into an early-model iPod which soundtracks his every move.

media_cameraBaby (Ansel Elgort, foreground) is all ears. Bats (Jamie Foxx, background) is all bigness. Now stand back and give them some vrrrooooom …

Virtually every key scene in Baby Driver is synched up to the beats, riffs and melodies passing through Baby’s head on a minute-by-minute basis.

Over time, Baby has amassed an array of playlists that can help him swerve and skid his way through any dangerous roadblock life may put before him.

These will come in mighty useful, due to the way his boss runs his outfit.

Aside from Baby, Doc never uses the same team configuration twice on any heist.

This carefully chosen cabal of crooks are as colourful a bunch as they are volatile, and not all of them are enamoured with Baby’s uncommunicative headphones habit.

media_cameraNeed a lift? Look no further than the bank-robbing speed freaks of
Baby Driver. Just don’t get in a lift with them, OK.

The mercurial gangsta gunman Bats (Jamie Foxx) is most pointedly not a Baby fan. Everything about the kid gets him riled up and suspicious.

Long-term lovers and stick-up specialists Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Elza Gonzalez) look relatively kindly upon Baby’s eccentricities, but even they have their limits.

Speaking of kindness, it is Baby’s blossoming relationship with Debora (Lily James), a young waitress who works at his favourite diner, that could offer a U-turn away from a life of crime.

While Baby Driver uses aggressive panache to empty a full tank of pure adrenaline laced with pulp fiction, it also has an infectiously cool sense of humour and a big romantic heart that will surprise and seduce those viewers who don’t normally do action flicks.

So turn the key, turn up the stereo and never turn back: Baby Driver is one of the must-see big-screen experiences of 2017.

Miss it, and your movie-going licence should be revoked immediately.

Originally published as Baby Driver has 5-star licence to thrill

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