Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James
Is Baby Driver Any Good?
Baby Driver had been one of the most anticipated releases of the year and with a plethora of four and five star reviews, it has easily justified that excitement. As Edgar Wright’s first film since 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, his first ever as sole writer and director and also his first film with such a sizable budget, it has given Wright a lot more freedom.
The result is arguably one of the best action films of recent years. Wright has taken his distinctive style and used it to focus on idiosyncratic car chases set to a intrinsic soundtrack. It is fast paced, stylish and wonderfully unique. And unlike many other films it is not purely just action. The characters are well developed, there are various subplots which build to make the action higher stakes and the romance angle is an integral part of the story, rather than something bolted on.
Despite this, it isn’t perfect. It hasn’t reached the classic level of films like Reservoir Dogs or Heat. It also misses the underground cult classic feel of Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, Wright’s earlier films. However it does sit somewhere in between and is one of the most enjoyable films this summer.
"He had an accident when he was a kid. Still has a hum in the drum. Plays music to drown it out. And that's what makes him the best."
Is Baby Driver a Comedy?
Unsurprisingly when you look at Edgar Wright’s past films, humour plays a big part of Baby Driver. In spite of this, it is hard to say what genre Baby Driver is as you cannot really classify it as a comedy. Sure there are a few funny jokes and the tone overall is a lot lighter than many gangster films, however the main focus here is clearly on the action combined with the emotive subplots.
Some fans and critics have even gone so far to term Baby Driver a musical, due to its heavy reliance on the soundtrack. Despite the cast never singing in the movie, scenes are shot and cut to the soundtrack with the action taking place on beat, making it feel like some kind of modern action musical. Whatever genre you classify Baby Driver as however, it is the auteurial voice of Edgar Wright which is most distinctive in this film.
What Happens in the Baby Driver Ending?
Despite Baby wanting to escape, he is forced into another heist which goes wrong, with Baby killing Bats and the cops killing Darling. After taking Joseph to a care home, he goes back to Debora only to find Buddy waiting, with a gun fight ensuing and Baby prevailing.
After going back to Doc for his tapes, he takes pitty on the young couple and protects them from Butcher’s men, however Buddy returns with Baby only just coming out on top of the carpark fight, where he is deafened by Buddy’s gun firing near his head.
After driving away, the couple are eventually stopped by the police and surrender. At Baby’s trial witnesses and victims attest to his good character, with the judge allowing him parole after five years, after which we see Baby leaving prison to a waiting Debora.
Is Baby Driver a Prequel or Related to Drive?
Many people have wondered whether Baby Driver is related to Drive, or even perhaps a prequel. Despite the naming similarities however, Baby Driver is in no way connected to the 2011 Nicolas Winding Refn film that starred Ryan Gosling. Many critics and fans have objected to the title of the film, not only due to these similarities, but also to the confusing connotations it may have to kids films like Boss Baby. One thing is for sure, that like the film itself, the title defied genre conventions.
Although Baby Driver is not a prequel to Drive, you can definitely see some influence it has had. Both films after all are incredibly stylised action films about driving, with some great performances and a certain level of depth.
How Important is the Baby Driver Soundtrack?
The soundtrack to Baby Driver is integral to the film. Permissions to a huge range of songs were cleared by the filmmakers before shooting could start, which is incredibly rare, yet allowed Edgar Wright not only to edit the film to the soundtrack, but also shoot it to the soundtrack.
Music acts as a backdrop to nearly every scene in the film and each perfectly fits not just that scene, but each precise moment. In car chases, the action speeds up and slows down between choruses and breakdowns, while tyre squeals and gunshots often add percussion to the tracks, all working perfectly in time. In some scenes, references or lyrics from songs even appear as part of the scenery.
With an often retro soundtrack, this takes you back to the great films of Quentin Tarantino, however with Baby Driver the music is not merely a perfect backdrop, it really is part of the movie itself.
"Oh Debora, always look like a zebra, Your sunken face is like a Galleon, Clawed with mysteries of the Spanish Maine, Oh, Debora."
What Cameos are There in Baby Driver?
Edgar Wright was lucky enough to get a huge star cast for his film, including House of Cards’ Kevin Spacey, The Fault In Their Stars’ Ansel Elgort and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm. He wasn’t content to just stop there however and the film is littered with celebrity cameos.
Bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and occasional actor, Flea, is part of the early heist crew as Eddie No Nose, while singer Sky Ferreira plays and sings as Baby’s mother in flashbacks and on his treasured tape. Atlanta rappers Big Boi and Killer Mike, who collaborate on a song on the soundtrack both are sitting at the bar when Doc pays for Baby’s order, while prolific songwriter and Smokey and the Bandit star Paul Williams plays The Butcher.
Baby Driver also features Walter Hill, creator of one of Edgar Wright's inspirations - The Driver, as the voice of the courtroom interpreter for Joseph during the trial, the recording of which caused him to describe Edgar Wright as ‘very European’ after the director asked him to go for a third take.
What is the Baby Driver Soundtrack Track List?
- Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Bellbottoms”
- Bob & Earl – “Harlem Shuffle”
- Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – “Egyptian Reggae”
- Googie Rene – “Smokey Joe’s La La”
- The Beach Boys – “Let’s Go Away For Awhile”
- Carla Thomas – “B-A-B-Y”
- Kashmere Stage Band – “Kashmere”
- Dave Brubeck – “Unsquare Dance”
- The Damned – “Neat Neat Neat”
- The Commodores – “Easy (Single Version)”
- T. Rex – “Debora”
- Beck – “Debra”
- Incredible Bongo Band – “Bongolia”
- The Detroit Emeralds – “Baby Let Me Take You (in My Arms)”
- Alexis Korner – “Early In The Morning”
- David McCallum – “The Edge”
- Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – “Nowhere To Run”
- The Button Down Brass – “Tequila”
- Sam & Dave – “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”
- Brenda Holloway – “Every Little Bit Hurts”
- Blur – “Intermission”
- Focus – “Hocus Pocus (Original Single Version)”
- Golden Earring – “Radar Love (1973 Single Edit)”
- Barry White – “Never, Never Gone Give Ya Up”
- Young MC – “Know How”
- Queen – “Brighton Rock”
- Sky Ferreira – “Easy”
- Simon & Garfunkel – “Baby Driver”
- Kid Koala – “Was He Slow (Credit Roll Version)”
- Danger Mouse (feat. Run The Jewels and Big Boi) – “Chase Me"
"People love great bank robbery stories, so let’s give them something full and brazen as fuck to talk about over their lattes"
What is With the Character Names in Baby Driver?
In Baby Driver each heist group member has a strange name. These are all code names in order to conceal their real identities. The naming acts on multiple levels, reflecting the character's personalities. Doc is the authorial and meticulous centre point, while Bats, arguably with one of the most intimidating names is set up to be the villain of the piece. When he dies quite a way before the end, it is therefore quite a shock, shortly before which Doc had already revealed his real name as Leon, stripping him of the intimidating character.
Baby, Buddy and Darling not only all have their names reflect their status in the gang, but they are also all terms of endearment, leading to some jarring but funny lines of arguments. After being originally set up as a more likeable character, when Buddy replaces Bats as Baby’s primary antagonist, this again makes the feel far more wild and unpredictable.
During Baby and Debora’s first meeting, the subjects of names inevitably comes up and links back into the musical backbone of the film. Baby, by the nature of his name, is always the subject of songs, while Debora only knows one with her name in, although Baby knows another. These songs then become an integral part of their character’s initial romance, as well as the soundtrack of the film as a whole.