Below is the opening for David Carter’s review of Baby Driver
Baby Driver: Once Upon a Pair of Wheels
Written Review by David Carter
It’s a bright and sunny day. Three people sit stone-faced in a car outside of a bank clad in trench coats and sunglasses while one, the drive, sits similarly stoic, sporting earbuds. He drops a twist into the scene: he throws on some music. Jon Spencer’s Blue Explosions “Bellbottoms” to be exact. The song thumps as the other three get out of the car and go to work. When they’re inside the bank taking care of business something else happens.
The driver starts singing and dancing to the song.
And not just some minimal movin’ and groovin’ but full on beltin’ and steering wheel drummin’. This isn’t your effortlessly cool James Dean-light type, he’s a dorky kid behind those shades. But let’s not get it twisted when it’s time to put pedal to floor and make high risks deals on wheels, our kid is Mozart in a go-kart. The heist finishes and we segue into a chase with “Bellbottoms” still keepin’ the pace while johnny law tries to make our hero’s heart race. He’s smooth like butter though and leaves 5-0 slipped up so the gang can switch cars and make a clean getaway.
Within that five-minute opening scene, I knew this was going to be the film of the year, but I was biased to begin with. Edgar Wright is without a doubt my favorite working director today. So much has been written about his incredibly kinetic and precise visual style or his penchant for layers upon layers of foreshadowing and meticulous set-up and payoff within his scripts, but rarely do people focus on how relatable his characters and their stories are. The Cornetto Trilogy, for all its winking, are pretty sincere movies about being at various stages in your life. The struggle to take responsibility and charge of your life in your 20’s in Shaun of the Dead. Hot Fuzz spells out the hardships of connecting with new people and new places as you move into your 30’s, and The World’s End is an ode to “where it all went wrong” and reckoning with your past and present self as you marinade in your 40’s. Even Scott Pilgrim fits into this cannon work by treading similar ground as Shaun of the Dead but from a distinctly millennial POV. Wrights characters up to this point have been flawed (mostly) ordinary people in relatable but extraordinary situations. Baby Driver has him exploring similar territory (the foreshadowing and set-up play a sneaky part in this movie as well) but Wright’s matured and he puts his passion on his sleeve to tell a Walter Hill-esque high octane pop and rock and roll morality fable. He leaves winking at the door and instead wants to whisk us breathlessly into a world that’s slightly more heightened than our own through the eyes and ears of a kid who doesn’t know that he’s going to have to make tough decisions at some point.