The Genius of Baby Driver
Baby Driver is not just a driving film – it is not just an action or a romance but all these things. It is so much more! This modern musical is powered by high octane fuel and at the wheel is a driver with a deft touch. Edgar Wright steers this film expertly, deftly morphing the many genres into one. The result is a new style that is fast paced with a focus on character development.
The main character in this film is the music with its cheeky personality. It is full of roaring emotion tempered by soft touches. Edgar Wright has paired every scene with the perfect song! From Bell-bottoms to Easy Like Sunday Morning, the songs work expertly – the beats of Tequila match the sound of each bullet firing, the streams of gunfire popping in time to the music. It is something wonderful, unique to experience, giving Baby Driver a zip and pace like no other film. Wright achieves this through fitting the shot to the music he has in mind. Working from a playlist of thousands of songs originally titled ‘Maybe Baby’, he ends up with a special effect and scenes that are tightly choreographed like a dance. It is perfectly in time with its music and the film moves from one great hit to another racing through its fabulous soundtrack.
‘do The Harlem Shuffle’
The songs permeate the character and world of this film – as Baby goes to grab coffee while dancing the Harlem Shuffle the very words are seen graffitied across the streets. The city is alive with the music. It reflects the character of Baby whose very lifeblood is made up of the beat and sound of music. He dances through the street turning shop windows into percussion instruments, Baby causes mayhem. It is light and fun and finishes with his discovery of his love for Debora. It is a perfect example of Edgar Wrights genius as the music, shots, choreography, and special effects all come together in one masterful scene.
‘Retarded means slow, was he slow?’
On top of all the other genius is the characters themselves who are often comedic at times balancing out the tense scenes. Take the names of the three criminals for instance: ‘Baby’, ‘Darling’ and ‘Buddy’. These names contrast with the dark dealings and cut through the tension with a knife, making you smile and laugh. Doc’s lines are quick and snappy. ‘Retarded means slow, was he slow?’ has become an iconic line and shows off the pacey dialogue which so carefully fits into the beat of the music. The dialogue becomes addictive and the show-not-tell policy of the film adds to the snappiness. The actions of the characters and the music speaks for itself.
At the core of the plot is the romance between Baby and Debora. The song by Carla Thomas brings the two together as he finds himself entranced by the angelic singing of Debora. Their love might be at the core, but it is music that is at the heart of everything in Baby Driver – even the love between Baby and Debora. She symbolises what is good in Baby and his way out of the life of crime that he is stuck in. Edgar Wright plays the romance superbly well; their dates are highly choreographed (imagine taking bites of food and dancing in a laundromat). It makes you root for the couple and adds to the frantic pace of the third act.
This film is almost a masterpiece with every element masterfully controlled and executed by Wright. It is one of those films that slaps you across the face and leaves you wanting more and more! I have simply brushed upon the genius of Baby Driver. The only way to truly realise its exquisite craftsmanship is to watch it for yourself.
Written by George Marshall
Edited by Isobella Norman