Baby Driver

Baby Driver is the latest movie from Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz). Wright brings together relative newcomer Angel Egort (The Fault in Our Stars) and Hollywood veteran Kevin Spacey.

The story revolves around Baby (Egort), who’s a kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. He finds himself in a world he doesn’t belong, working for Doc (Spacey) as a getaway driver. Doc’s world is one of bank robberies, guns and violence. However, Wright has actually created a musical, a love story, which happens to involve car chases, gun fights and some pretty violent characters.

From the first frame, Baby’s soundtrack is our soundtrack. Due to a childhood trauma, explained via flashbacks, Baby has tinnitus. He uses music to drown out the sounds and has a series of iPods with infinite playlists for his every move. He choreographs his life, actions and mannerisms to his music.

The whole first scene plays out to the full track of 'Bellbottoms' by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. We are in Baby’s head as he waits while the robbery takes place and sings along, setting the tone for the entire film. He struts down the street to buy coffee whilst listening to the Harlem Shuffle. It’s filmed in the way music makes you feel, like you’re with Baby and it’s perfectly normal to dance down the street. And with impressive driving and fighting scenes, Wright gives us the feeling of really being in the action.

Stand-out performances come from Ergol and Lily James (Cinderella) as Baby's coffee-waitress girlfriend, Debora. James seems to be channelling Twin Peaks’ Shelley, and for me it works perfectly. As we’ve seen before in Wright's films, he knows how to do clever, subtle comedy. In Baby Driver, it’s much needed to provide light relief, especially later in the film.

What could easily have been a run-of-the-mill bank heist film is actually a thrill ride with a big dose of heart and soul. If you like music, this film can’t fail to make you smile.

Dawn Stilwell

Film Listings

Hosted by Stephen Chase

DETROIT

Katherine Bigelow, USA, 2017
From Fri 25 Aug | Various times | Showroom | £8.80/£6.60

Based on the 12th Street Riot of 1967, which left several dead, thousands arrested and a city in flames, Detroit sees Katherine Bigelow (Point Break, The Hurt Locker) bring her kinetic style to bear on the events surrounding the police raid at the Algiers Hotel. Featuring up-and-coming actors including John Boyega and Hannah Murray, the film explores racial tensions and the disastrous response of the National Guard and police. Link

SHIN GODZILLA

Hideaki Anno & Shinj Higuchi, Japan, 2017
From Fri 11 Aug | Various times | Showroom

Surely not another reboot for the big lizard..? Well, on the evidence of the trailers, this is an attempt to recapture some of the pulpy satire of the early kaiju efforts. I, for one, welcome the return of our radioactive reptilian overlord. Link

THE ODYSSEY

Jerome Salle, France, 2017
From Fri 18 Aug | Various times | Showroom | £8.60/£6.60

If a story of behatted undersea explorers and a tricky father-son relationship puts you in mind of Bill Murray and co, then here you can discover the true basis for the Zissou tale with the arguably more remarkable true story of Jacques and Philippe Cousteau, starring Lambert Wilson and Audrey Tautou. I'm hoping for extraordinary underwater photography and space-age music amidst the tense familial saga. Link

THE THING / BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA

John Carpenter, USA, 1982/1986
Sat 26 August | 7pm | Abbeydale Picture House | £9

Doors open at 6pm for this epic double bill of Carpenter films starring Kurt Russell. The superb 1982 Antarctica horror, The Thing – a film theorist’s dream horror, operating as it does in the cultural and psychological shadows of human being (see Anne Billson’s take on it) – is followed by Carpenter’s "action adventure comedy kung fu ghost story monster movie". Link