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American films

Film review: Baby Driver – Edgar Wright’s American heist musical is a witty, shocking piece of entertainment

Ansel Elgort puts in an effortlessly agile performance as the titular Baby, holding his own opposite the likes of Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Lily James in this enjoyable cross between La La Land and Drive

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 September, 2017, 10:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 2:39pm

4/5 stars

Edgar Wright, the British writer-director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, finally scores his first theatrical release in Hong Kong with Baby Driver. Billed as La La Land meets Drive, the film is a high-speed action musical shot on the streets of Atlanta.

Baby (Ansel Elgort, The Fault in Our Stars) is the lucky charm wheelman in Kevin Spacey’s otherwise rotating crew of no-good bank robbers. He also listens to music a lot to drown out a chronic case of tinnitus. As Baby soundtracks his every waking moment, Wright edits the film in time with an endless stream of classics from The Commodores, Queen, T. Rex and others.

Featuring all the guns, dames and double-crosses one might expect from a traditional heist thriller, Baby Driver often plays more like a Broadway musical. Elgort, little more than as teen heartthrob before now, unleashes his theatrical roots in an effortlessly agile performance, holding his own opposite the likes of Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Lily James.

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Wright has affectionately lampooned the horror and action genres in the past, but Baby Driver proves he is now a legitimate action director in his own right. Recalling True Romance and Walter Hill’s The Driver, Wright’s first truly American film is by turns witty, romantic and shocking.

The third act steers a little too readily into cliché, but for the most part Baby Driver is a bold and inventive slice of pop art. The car chases and shoot-outs pulsate with energy and innovation that go beyond mere homage. Wright is playing to his own tune, and it’s a banger.

Baby Driver opens on September 14

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