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Review: Baby Driver – “Exhilarating, intense and action-packed”

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In Baby Driver, Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a highly skilled getaway driver struggling to be free of the life of crime he finds himself stuck in – especially once he falls for waitress Debora (Lily James). A nasty case of tinnitus means that he must keep earphones in (and music playing) most of the time just to keep the hum from driving him crazy.

Cue a film with dark and unsettling undertones, insane car chases – and a killer soundtrack.

Edgar Wright’s latest film is a stylistic adventure, jumping from tension and fear to excitement and wonder. The chase sequences are mind-blowing and the stunning blend of music and action offers a delightful awakening of the senses. Each song is beautifully interwoven with the scene, sometimes with lyrics casually dropped into the scene itself. Gunfire matches the beat of the track and the whole thing is like one big violent operatic work.

The cast Wright has assembled provides a fascinating mix of actors. Kevin Spacey is the man in charge, exercising his hold over Baby with quietly terrifying control. He portrays the type of man who doesn’t need to show how scary he is. People just know. Just as scary, but for very different reasons, is Jamie Foxx, playing a character so volatile you live in constant fear of his next move. The rest of the cast, which includes Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Eiza González, all bring their own level of charm and intrigue, too.

Gentle reprieves happen for Baby in one of two places. Firstly, there are his adorable interactions with Debora, where they talk about music and loss without really saying that much at all. Secondly, there are the moments when Baby is at home with foster dad Joseph (CJ Jones). Their scenes are incredibly sweet, as the pair communicate using sign language and Joseph picks up on the mood changes of his foster son by feeling the changing vibrations of the music he’s blasting out.

Though the action and the soundtrack might be what draws people to this film, one of the most compelling elements of it is that of perspective. Because this is Baby’s story and he’s doing all he can to just get the job done and get out of there with as little collateral damage as possible. He sits outside in the car while the rest of his assigned team do the dirty work. They return with the cash and he drives. Simple.

Of course, this work is anything but simple. People are hurt along the way. Gunfire surrounds him and, despite trying desperately to look away, he eventually sees things he wishes he hasn’t. As the audience, we feel his increasing unease. We also feel both the freedom he has while he’s behind the wheel and the fear and worry when he’s not.

Despite the darkness of the story, Baby Driver is riotous fun. Exhilarating, intense and action-packed, it’s a treat that is sure to get your pulse racing and your eyes widening.

Baby Driver opens in cinemas on 28th June 2017.

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