An eager audience was packed into cinemas at Event George Street last week for the Australian premiere of Baby Driver. Edgar Wright introduced the film, along with stars Ansel Elgort and Lily James. Wright was palpably ecstatic at the presence of Mad Max director and Australian film royalty, Dr George Miller. As much as the crowd was excited that the actors and director trekked it all the way to Sydney, we all just couldn’t wait for the film to start.
Boy was our excitement justified. And then some.
Baby Driver follows a young getaway driver (Elgort) whose ever-constant soundtrack blocks out a tragic past, while helping him to be the best in the game. Working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey) to settle a debt, he decides to leave his dangerous life after meeting Debora (James). But of course it’s not as easy as it would seem as he goes on one last heist that threatens everything he has.
The best way I could describe this film would be an action musical. Although the pop song filled action movie has become very familiar to audiences in both the good and bad with films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad, Wright differentiates Baby Driver through its fluid, daring, and inventive sequences.
In the Q&A that followed, Wright revealed that Sia’s music video choreographer worked on the film, in timing the characters’ action to music, helping to create the seamless gunfire a-capellas among other great moments. He also said he made a point of using songs that didn’t have video clips or that had been used in other films, so they didn’t have previous images associated with them. It is very difficult to describe in writing the excitement and satisfaction you get from watching this movie. If there’s ever a movie to be seen in cinemas with massive speakers and a good crowd, it’s this one.
As George Miller so pointedly remarked, the film is
“So finely crafted on every level”
The film is also a wonderful ensemble piece. When asked about casting, Wright spoke about the charisma of Ansel Elgort, and the sincerity that he and Lily James brought that was key to their portions of the film. In Baby Driver Elgort proves himself as more than the Fault in our Stars teen crush most know him as. He oozes a very special charisma, not the annoying cockiness that appears in most action movies, but a fun and slightly innocent energy. It’s fantastic to see Jon Hamm deviate from the charm of Don Draper into the role of a criminal, and Kevin Spacey… Well I mean what’s not to love when he’s in something.
Wright has pulled off what may be the best film of his career thus far. While it’s not as joke-filled as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver still has that irrevocable Wright charm and is ripe for repeated viewings. The combination of directorial control and risk-taking is the mark of a man who is really mastering his craft.
It’s also just refreshing to watch an action movie that’s not about superheroes, Vin Diesel, or CGI monsters.
Baby Driver is now showing in cinemas across Australia