Film Review: Baby Driver – Edgar Wright’s Best Film Yet?

By Fraser Nunn (@badknitbear)

Have you seen Baby Driver yet?

If not, go see it. If you have, go see it again. I don’t want to do that review thing where you say how good a film is and it kinda swells the anticipation and your heart beats faster at the thought of going to see the film and then you get in there and you have such a massive idea of what the films going to be that you’re left with the cinematic equivalent to blue balls.

What I do want to do is just express to you all how damn exciting it was to see this film in the cinema. For years my top five films have been secured by 80’s Classics and 90’s brilliance but that has been well and truly invaded by Edgar Wright’s instant Classic Baby Driver. The film is essentially about this young guy called Baby. Yes, B-a-b-y, Baby. He gets in bed (not literally) with Kevin Spacey’s character Doc and winds up as his go to Getaway driver. From then on, the film follows this quiet kid around his life as a getaway driver and his home life as he tried to break free from his mundane job… as a getaway driver for a major crime boss.

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Past the basic stuff now, the film has one of the best opening scenes of any film ever (I may have said the same thing about Guardians of the Galaxy vol2 but trust me this time). It’s amazing, taking a massive amount of influence from Edgar Wright’s 2003 Music Video for Mint Royale (this video was the birth of the script for Baby Driver) with the crew heading into the bank to start the heist and Baby showing the world how to rock a lipsync in the car and not look obnoxious AF. Bellbottoms blasting, we are left out of the action, focussed on Baby and what he’s seeing and it’s honestly just perfect – every beat is so well timed I had actual shivers.

This theme continues throughout the film: the music was Wright’s primary asset in Baby Driver, and there are countless scenes in which the music matches the scene perfectly but it’s so much more than a backing up tune. We’re hearing what the characters hear and we’re experiencing everything along side Baby. We hear his emotions played out in song form, we hear his joy, his anger, his fear and frustration and we hear his confidence. Baby is well written and complex and the music tells us this story.

The Harlem Shuffle walk, in which Baby is picking up coffee post heist, shows just how much Wright can do with really basic scenes, keep an eye on the grafitti in the background of this scene and admire the timing and the choreography, it’s truly stunning and it’s not the only one. The film is full of beautiful cars, and beautiful driving sequences and chase scenes, yet one of the best chase scenes comes when Baby is on the run on foot practically dancing as he goes, easily becoming one of the film’s strongest scenes.

It’s no surprise that after all this rambling that I’ll say this – Baby Driver is one of the best films I’ve seen in quite some time. Its sublime editing, writing and direction, all thanks to Mr Edgar Wright, helps to solidify itself as one of the year’s finest flicks and makes it another strong addition to the British marvel’s filmography. Only time will tell if it can really take the title of “best film yet” but with a phenomenal soundtrack, Wright’s trademark aesthetic and the aforementioned writing, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not seeing this film – let Edgar Wright and Baby take you on a wild ride.

10/10


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TV REVIEW: House Of Cards – Season 1

Breaking Bad meets politics meets Shakespeare in Netflix’s greatest, grittiest show.

“There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong. Or useless pain. The sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things. Moments like this require someone who will act. To do the unpleasant thing. The necessary thing” says protagonist Frank Underwood before proceeding to break an injured dog’s neck. “There, no more pain.” And with that, House of Cards begins as it aims and succeeds to be for the entirety of its first season: a delightfully dark masterpiece.

Politics is an absolute minefield of a topic and creating a show that revolves around it can be a hard sell to many, least of all those from outside the US who may be oblivious to how it all works with words like senate and delegates being foreign to them. Thankfully, for the most part anyway, this is all window dressing for a dark and narcissistic tale where the aforementioned  Underwood  is our hero.

Or so it seems. Underwood manifests unprecedented charisma while also possessing the traits of some of literature’s most twisted beings, more specifically Shakespearean ones as he sets outs to get revenge on none other than the President with an intricate and well thought out plan which is reminiscent that of Iago.

A complex and chilling character, Underwood, played superbly by Kevin Spacey, will immediately remind anyone smart enough to watch Breaking Bad of that show’s anti-hero Walter White. Whereas we started off with Walter White as a nice natured, family man and slowly witnessed his transformation, House Of Cards lets us know from the get go that Underwood is a man out for himself, unwilling to stop for anyone and anything that prevents him from getting what he wants.

This makes the show, just like its characters, a conflicted one. The viewer will go from praising Underwood for his drive and dedication to being repulsed by his actions and his lack of empathy, usually all within the space of a few minutes. Being a Netflix show, House of Cards benefits from this as it’s immensely difficult to predict what Underwood may do next, meaning that watching”one more episode” will undoubtedly lead to you devouring the season within a day.

A show is only as strong as its characters though and thankfully House Of Cards provides more than just one interesting one. Just like Frank himself, his wife Claire is someone that yearns for power, a true Lady Macbeth figure who isn’t totally reliant on her husband for storylines. The chemistry between Claire, played by Robin Wright, and Spacey’s Underwood is magnificent and a true joy to behold, showing both respect and resentment towards one another in an almost serial killer-esque fashion.

Not only that but we’re introduced to even more characters at battle with themselves. There’s perky new journalist Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) who walks the line between, as IGN expertly put it, becoming a shark, or simply learning to navigate the waters infested with them. U.S congressman Peter Russo also has his own battles though unlike Mara’s character, his demons lie at the bottom of a bottle, something he must deal with on his road to redemption. All of this means that there are hardly any filler scenes as each moment in an episode is as essential as the next.
As the show came out three years ago, there’s very little new insight I can give when reviewing House Of Cards but I couldn’t tear myself away from the screen whenever it was on. Full of tragedy, multiplex ties, fourth wall breaks and great cinematography (what else do you expect when David Fincher produces the show), House of Cards stands amongst some of my favourite shows with its sublime execution.

Any show that can do that is worth more than just a mention.

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