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"Edgar Wright’s films often have a tendency to be under-appreciated upon their initial release. Whether it’s Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead or Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, it frequently seems that the box-office returns don’t accurately represent the quality or critical reception of his films.

Maybe, in that, there’s a lesson to be learned as to whether or not people actually respond to innovational filmmaking, or whether they tend to stick to studio-based franchise films. We often call for Hollywood to release something original, but then don’t go support it in the theaters when they do. Regardless — this summer Edgar Wright finally got the big break and wide-spread love that he deserves with his newest film, Baby Driver. 

Baby (Ansel Elgort) — yes, his real name is B-A-B-Y — hasn't had an easy life. When he was just a child he was in a car accident that tragically killed his parents. As if that wasn’t enough trauma, it also gave him a lifelong case of tinnitus — a low ringing in the ear — which can only be drowned out by constantly wearing earbuds and listening to music. 

Then there’s his job. Baby can drive a car better than anyone else in the city of Atlanta. When he’s behind the wheel, it’s an art. And while Baby wishes he could use his skills to make an honest living in order to take care of his blind foster-father Joseph (CJ Jones), life isn’t that simple. Baby owes a large sum of money to a criminal under-lord named Doc (Kevin Spacey) — and to pay off this debt, Doc enlists Baby’s talents as a getaway driver in various heists and bank robberies.

Everything changes when he meets Debbie (Lily James), the waitress at Bo’s Diner and the girl of his dreams. Suddenly he wants nothing more than to leave his criminal life behind and escape to the other side of the country with her — something that’s a lot easier said than done.

Wright’s films are known for being stylish and creatively directed — which is arguably the defining factor of Baby Driver. The inspired use of music — there’s a song playing at almost every moment during the movie — is cut and edited to car chases, shoot-outs and an incredible tracking shot early on in the film. This creates something of a non-singing-or-dancing kind of musical, where the movie is creating a brand new soundtrack out of thin air. 

Characterization also plays a large role in the narrative Baby Driver. Baby is our hero, a (relatively) innocent teenager who’s caught up in a world where he doesn’t belong. The people he’s working with are a sorry group of low-life criminals who don’t understand — or maybe even are secretly envious of — his way of life. While Baby tries his best not pay them any mind, it all changes when he meets Debbie.

Suddenly he has something to lose and finds himself vulnerable. The longer he waits to act the worse it gets, and Baby finds himself learning the hard way sometimes the world won’t let you quit and walk away — no matter how noble of a person one may be. At least, not without getting your hands dirty first. Baby may not be a hero who can fly, lift buildings or turn invisible — but maybe he’s one of the few heroes where the audience can really see themselves in. 

Baby Driver is both a lesson in original-filmmaking and one of Wright’s finest films to date. The attention to detail both in front of and behind the camera, as well as finely defined characters — even the smallest of roles in Baby Driver is given some sort of personality — makes the film re-watchable to no end."

—Daniel Hickey

October 2017
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