Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Baby Driver, after

I can't believe it lived up to the hype.

Baby Driver opens with a car chase you've already seen most of in the trailers, but it's still glorious when viewed all in a single sequence. That 180-in-180-out - one of my two favorite stunts in the whole film (the other is the tire shredder) - is cut a fraction shorter than I'd have liked but there's probably a technical reason for that.

Edgar Wright gets a lot of credit - deservedly - for his rapid editing and propulsive montages, but Baby Driver also has some great long single-take(?) sequences. The action-packed opening chase is followed by a multi-minute shot tracking Baby as he buys coffee for his accomplices (I'm 99% sure I spotted a Pierce Brosnan cameo), and there are a couple of others that are just as confidently executed.

And Baby Driver also takes Wright well outside of his established comedy wheelhouse - there's palpable danger hanging in the air between Baby and [spoiler] late in the film. Shaun's finale had dramatic weight, but this is a whole other level. Which isn't to say that Baby Driver isn't funny in places, but you might be disappointed if you're expecting a Hot Fuzz-style comedy.

My pre-movie concerns about the employment of women in the film stand validated, though - they just don't have any real agency and in this day and age that's a poor state of affairs. Reviews have called Baby Driver a love letter to cinema and music but I'm a little frustrated Wright doesn't get as inventive narratively as he does visually. Enough remixes - give us an original composition!

Baby Driver is the best there is at what it does, but what it doesn't is impossible for me to ignore completely.

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