Samstag, 29. Juli 2017

BABY DRIVER - Movie Review

Title: Baby Driver
Running Time: 113 min
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm,  Jamie Foxx, Eiza González, Jon Bernthal, CJ Jones

There are only a few directors who can leave a fingerprint as unique as Edgar Wright. The creator of "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" and the so-called "Cornetto-Trilogy" (including "Shaun of the Dead", "Hot Fuzz" and "The World's End") has made a name for himself by putting certain trademark elements into almost all of his films. Firstly, he puts everyday normal people into outrageous scenarios. Not only does this create humor, but Wright actually uses these ludicrous events to support his characters' personal growth. Secondly, he has a slick and inventive way of editing as well as framing his scenes. Thus, he can create comedy, excitement and style almost completely independent from the words in his script. And lastly, Wright fills his films with a lot of details, foreshadowing and pop-culture references, so that you can pick up something new every-time you rewatch it.
By now, it has been four years since the director brought his ideas to the big screen. After he left Marvel's "Ant-Man" project very publicly, the world was wondering what this film-maker would come up with next. "Baby Driver" is the answer to that question. And a damn great one too. Although it isn't as distinctly Edgar-Wright-ish as you might expect.
The movie revolves around Baby, a young getaway driver who has had an accident as a child that left him with a tinnitus. To drown out the squeak in his ear, he listens to music, an art-form that has always played a central part in his life. For Wright's standards the basic plot is unconventionally conventional: Boy is in the bad guy business, boy meets girl, boy wants to get out of the bad guy business to drive off into the sunset with girl, boy has to do one last job. So far so simple. It is a classic Hollywood tale. Wright however gives it enough little twists and turns to make it feel like a fresh homage rather than a resort to cliché. But what actually truly elevates this story is the musical element mentioned above:
The soundtrack consists almost exclusively of licensed pieces of music and features fantastic songs from Queen's "Brighton Rock" all the way to a cover version of "Tequila". It is much more than a great listen, though. While in other films the action is simply accompanied by the music, here, it is the other way around. The music dictates the action. Yes, everything that happens in "Baby Driver" is in perfect sync with the songs you hear. The stunts, the driving, the gunshots, even the beeping of ATMs in the background. Whether it is putting down a coffee cup or tapping someone on the shoulder. Everything fits the rhythm. You know these moments you sometimes have, when you walk through the streets with your headphones on, when you imagine this was the soundtrack to your life? That's what this movie is all about. But it's more than just a gimmick. Often times it is subtle enough that it isn't too on the nose (although you never not notice it), and moreover, it serves the purpose of reflecting the protagonists view of the world. When he has to restart a song in the middle of the action, you know that this is not going how he had planned. It's an ingenious character moment.
By itself, this whole element would already make an entertaining motion picture. If you then take a look at the cast, the entire film steps up its game even further. Everyone seems like they had a blast on set. Oscar-Winners Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey are excellent (it becomes clear Spacey has perfected his typical arrogant and powerful mastermind by now), but also Jon Hamm gives his character an unexpected depth through his performance. And then of course there is our leading man, Ansel Elgort, who is as charismatic as he ever was. He has to carry most of the film and fulfills his task masterfully. You believe his passion, his coolness and his pain. While I am curious to see what Alden Ehrenreich has to offer, I immediately thought it to be a shame that Elgort didn't get the role of young Han Solo as soon as I saw the first 6 minutes of "Baby Driver".
The whole film is an exhilarating ride that you can appreciate more and more every time you watch it. This movie has action, humor, romance and maybe the greatest car chase sequences of the decade. Edgar Wright proves that he can deliver an endlessly creative product even when he plays around with a classic Hollywood formula. Meticulously crafted, brilliantly edited and perfectly cast, this music-video-motion-picture-hybrid is one of the best films of the summer. Buy the ticket and take your friends. You won't regret it.

For Fans Of:
Hot Fuzz (2007)
RocknRolla (2008)
The Town (2010)
The Italian Job (1969/2003)
Victoria (2015)
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Fast Five (2011)

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