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Baby Driver - Film Review

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by Nicholas Gordon (subscribe)
Freelance writer based in Sydney.
Published June 30th 2017
Buckle up, Baby
The name's Baby. Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young man with a considerable talent for driving. Especially driving fast, away from crimes his colleagues have just committed. Baby's also a lover of music - his earphones are always plugged into one of his many iPods.

Baby works, reluctantly, for Doc (Kevin Spacey), an Atlanta crime boss. Doc masterminds audacious bank robberies for a revolving cast of bandits - and Baby is always at the helm of the getaway car. It's not by choice - Baby is repaying Doc for some debt accrued in the past.



We first meet Baby when he's behind the wheel of a cherry red Subaru. The robbers go in and rob, then come out. Baby floors it, police cars - all flashing lights and wailing sirens - are menacingly behind Baby and his hot Subaru in a flash. You know the rest: lots of sliding and swerving, chasing cop cars crunching into hapless civilian vehicles, exasperated looks on the cops' faces. Baby and crew able to escape.

Doc is happy with the job and says he's got one robbery for Baby to participate in and then Baby has repaid his debt and can walk away from a life of crime. Baby wants out, especially after he meets Debora (Lily James), a waitress at a diner, falls fast for her and decides he wants to drive off into the sunset with her. But after the supposed last job, Doc reneges - he's not going to give up his best driver so quickly. There are more jobs and Baby will take part in them. Doc will see to that. But Baby wants out. And it's going to get complicated.

Directed by Edgar Wright, Baby Driver heaps the action on. There are car chases, heists, romance, and even an emotional back story (Baby's mum died in a car crash; she was a singer and presumably nurtured Baby's love of music, though it's all a bit vague). Plus there's the ever-pulsating soundtrack.



Music is at the heart of the film, and it's a genre leaping playlist at that. Everything from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion to Queen to the Commodores. The music makes the whole thing more palatable. Baby loves music. He listens non-stop. He mixes and plays with recordings of people's voices. He moves only when the music is matched right.

The other characters aren't as interesting. Debora says everything you'd expect a young waitress who works in a diner to say. The bank-robbing crew of Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Eiza González all read familiar lines. Kevin Spacey's Doc is similarly thin - it feels like Spacey devoted a couple of short sessions on free weekends to the entire project.

There's a lot going on in Baby Driver. Too much. It borders on stylish in places, especially when music is driving the action, but the rest is just car chases and ludicrous turns.


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*Nicholas Gordon was invited as a guest
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Why? For a fast ride and a smooth soundtrack
When: In cinemas from July 13
Where: Cinemas everywhere
Cost: Varies
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