Nouvelle Cult – ‘Baby Driver’ reviewed

❉ Well written, acted and directed Baby Driver is destined to become a modern cult classic and one of 2017’s finest flicks.

If Baby Driver was a car it would be one of those shiny, red, modern contraptions that are prone to be featured in expensive advertisements. You know the ones. Fast, sleek, beautiful and above all well executed. However, if one were to ‘pop the hood’ you’d find that the quality goes a lot further than the paint job…

While the film has a decidedly mainstream appeal, its roots are entirely embedded in niche cinema which  gives the film a delicious complexity. Instead of a V6 engine you’d find a framed photo of Michael Winner and Walter Hill French kissing while Quentin Tarantino looks on lustfully, and in lieu of a proper battery you’d find it runs on a record turntable. Oh and how it purrs! Baby Driver features the best soundtrack this side of the above-mentioned Tarantino’s oeuvre. And….that’s as far as this laborious analogy can be stretched. Edgar Wright’s film has a wide ranging appeal, but is loving hand crafted from years of cult cinema influence. I love it.

The story is deceptively simple and one you’ve surely seen before. Still, the work put into every scene by the cast and crew makes it as fresh as ever.  Ansel Elgort delivers a star making turn as Baby, the young, music obsessed getaway driver for Kevin Spacey’s Doc. Naturally there’s a girl and this one is in the shape of Debora (Lily James). As they as wont to do, things go wrong. Fleshing out the rest of the colourful cast of unsavory characters are Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, and Jon Berenthal. Hell, there’s even a splendid little cameo from Paul Williams that certainly serves as a lovely Hal Needham (Smokey and the Bandit) allusion.

Outside of Elgort and the ever watchable Spacey, I was immensely impressed by Jon Hamm’s performance as ‘Buddy’. Having only seen his comedic turns in films and not as Don Draper in ‘Mad Men’, his impact over a limited screen time was fascinating.

Music, rather non-surprisingly, plays an essential part in this film. Besides the fact that the entire film was choreographed by an actual dance choreographer, the music was the first thing assembled for the film before the actual script was written. This gives the film a fluid, unique feel. As for the car scenes, Edgar Wright consulted Ron Howard, George Miller and friend Quentin Tarantino, which should give you plenty of insight of how the film is tonally.

Well written, acted and directed Baby Driver is destined to become a modern cult classic and it’s certainly one of 2017’s finest flicks. Go see it at your local cinema now. Twice. You won’t believe the neat details you see on a second viewing. Play close attention to the credits sequence.

In the meantime, enjoy the soundtrack…

❉ ‘Baby Driver’ is in cinemas now.

❉ Ian McCann is a regular contributor to We Are Cult and editor of The Causal Nexus, home of the ‘Chronological Hysteresis’ series.

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