Baby Driver

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Baby Driver
Baby Driver poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Edgar Wright
Produced by
Written by Edgar Wright
Starring
Music by Steven Price
Cinematography Bill Pope
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • March 11, 2017 (2017-03-11) (SXSW)
  • June 28, 2017 (2017-06-28) (US/UK)
Running time
113 minutes[2]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[2][3]
Language English
Budget $34 million[4]
Box office $167.5 million[5]

Baby Driver is a 2017 action film written and directed by Edgar Wright. It stars Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Jon Bernthal. The plot follows Baby, a young getaway driver and music lover who must work for a kingpin.

Baby Driver was co-produced by Working Title Films and Big Talk Productions, and was distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures and by TriStar Pictures in the US, while the independent studio Media Rights Capital provided archive footage possession for the film's US release. It premiered at South by Southwest on March 11, 2017, and was released theatrically on June 28, 2017.[6][7] Upon release, the film received critical acclaim and has grossed $167 million worldwide against production budget of $34 million, becoming Wright's highest-grossing film as a director.

Plot[edit]

Baby is a getaway driver in Atlanta, Georgia. He ferries the crews of robbers assembled by Doc, a heist mastermind, to pay off a debt he incurred after stealing one of Doc's cars. When he was a child, a car accident killed his parents and left him with tinnitus, which he blocks out by listening to music. Between jobs, he creates remixes from snippets of conversations he records, cares for his deaf foster father Joseph, and romances Debora, a waitress.

His next robbery goes awry after an armed bystander chases them down, but Baby evades him and the police. Informed by Doc that they are now "straight", Baby goes legit, delivering pizzas. During a date with Debora at an upscale restaurant, he is threatened by Doc into performing another heist, at a post office.

The crew consists of easy-going Buddy, his wife Darling, and trigger-happy Bats, who takes an immediate dislike to Baby. While the crew attempts to purchase illegal arms for the job, Bats realizes the dealers are ex-police and opens fire. Afterwards, Bats forces Baby to stop at Debora's diner, unaware of Baby and Debora's romance, and nearly kills her in a hold-up.

Doc, furious at the botched deal, tries to cancel the heist, but Baby convinces him to go through with it. He attempts to flee, hoping to take Debora and leave Atlanta, but is stopped by Buddy and Bats, who have discovered his recordings and believe he is an informant. When they and Doc hear his mixtapes, they are convinced of his innocence.

During the heist, Bats kills a security guard. Disgusted, Baby refuses to drive the crew, causing Bats to beat him. Baby rams the car into rebar, killing Bats. Buddy and Darling chase Baby on foot. After police kill Darling, Buddy blames Baby for her death, and vows to kill him. Baby steals another car and flees to his apartment. After leaving Joseph at an assisted living home, Baby drives to Debora's diner to pick her up, but Buddy is waiting. Baby shoots Buddy and flees with Debora as the police close in.

Baby seeks help from Doc. After seeing he truly loves Debora, Doc supplies them with cash and directions to get out of the country. Buddy ambushes them in the parking garage and kills Doc with a stolen police car. A cat-and-mouse game ensues until Buddy has Baby at his mercy; he fires his pistol close to Baby's ears, deafening him. Debora disarms Buddy with a crowbar and Baby wounds him with the pistol, causing him to fall to his death.

Fleeing Atlanta, Baby and Debora run into a roadblock. Debora prepares to ram it, but Baby surrenders. At his trial, Joseph, Debora, and several people Baby saved during the robberies testify in his defense. Baby is sentenced to 25 years in prison with a parole hearing after five. Baby receives postcards from Debora who promises to wait for him. Upon his release, he finds Debora waiting and they kiss.

Cast[edit]

  • Ansel Elgort as Baby / Miles, a young man with a love for music who works as the getaway driver for a rotating crew of bank robbers[8]
    • Hudson Meek as Young Baby
  • Kevin Spacey as Doc, the mysterious kingpin of the rag-tag gang of bank robbers and a veteran criminal mastermind
  • Lily James as Debora, a young waitress who befriends Baby
  • Jon Hamm as Buddy / Jason Van Horn, a handsome party animal and frequent member of Doc's gang
  • Eiza González as Darling / Monica, one of Doc's gang of bank robbers, Buddy’s lawless and scandalous wife and partner in crime[9]
  • Jamie Foxx as Bats / Leon, an impulsive, violent member of Doc's gang
  • Jon Bernthal as Griff, one of Doc's gang, who mocks Baby constantly
  • Flea as Eddie "No-Nose", one of Doc's gang[10]
  • Lanny Joon as JD, one of Doc's gang
  • CJ Jones as Joseph, Baby's deaf foster father
  • Sky Ferreira as Baby's Mother
  • Lance Palmer as Baby's Father
  • Big Boi as Restaurant Patron #1[11]
  • Killer Mike as Restaurant Patron #2[11]
  • Paul Williams as "The Butcher"[11]
  • Jon Spencer as Prison Guard[11]

Filmmaker Walter Hill makes a vocal cameo appearance as a courtroom interpreter during Baby's trial hearing near the end of the film. Wright has cited Hill's 1978 film The Driver as a major inspiration for Baby Driver.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Writer-director Edgar Wright conceived Baby Driver in 1994; he adapted the film's original planned beginning into a 2003 music video he directed for Mint Royale's "Blue Song",[12] which starred Noel Fielding as a music-loving getaway driver for a group of bank robbers.[13] A clip of the music video is shown briefly in the movie as the main character flips between television channels.

Casting[edit]

On July 22, 2014, it was announced that Edgar Wright, who had left the film Ant-Man, would next direct Baby Driver for Working Title Films instead. Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Nira Park produced the film.[14] On January 13, 2015, it was reported that Ansel Elgort was in early talks to star in the film, which Sony Pictures Entertainment would release through TriStar Pictures.[15] Emma Stone and Michael Douglas were also being eyed to be in the cast.[16] On May 7, 2015, Lily James was reported to be in talks to be the female lead, a waitress and Elgort's character's love interest.[17][18]

Jamie Foxx was reported to be in talks to join the film on September 8, 2015.[19] On October 20, 2015, Jon Hamm signed on to play one of the villains, a former Wall Street trader, now a member of the bank robbers' gang.[18] Kevin Spacey was cast as a veteran criminal and the boss of the crew on November 3, 2015.[20] On December 16, 2015, Eiza González joined the film to play one of the bank robbers—the wife of Hamm's character.[21] Jon Bernthal was cast as Griff on February 23, 2016.[22] On January 8, 2017, Wright posted via Twitter that "Streep is in my new movie", deleting the tweet shortly afterward, leading some to speculate that Meryl Streep would appear in Baby Driver.[23] Streep cameoed in the movie It's Complicated, which is being broadcast on a television set visible during a scene.

Wright enlisted Ryan Heffington as the film's choreographer to work on the actors' timing and movements in order to sync them with the music soundtrack.[24][25]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography on the film began on February 17 and concluded on May 13, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia.[26][27]

Soundtrack[edit]

Baby Driver (Music from the Motion Picture)
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released June 23, 2017 (2017-06-23)
Length 1:43:53
Label 30th Century
Producer Danger Mouse

Baby Driver (Music from the Motion Picture) is the soundtrack album of the film. The soundtrack was released on June 23, 2017, on CD, vinyl and digital music via the Columbia Records imprint, 30th Century Records.[28] The album features a combination of artists, from various decades, including Blur, Run the Jewels, Sky Ferreira, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Queen and Golden Earring.[29]

The film takes its name from "Baby Driver", a song from the Simon & Garfunkel album Bridge over Troubled Water. The song is played during the end credits.[30][31] Wright consulted with James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, before Vol. 2 released to ensure the two films did not feature the same songs on their soundtracks.[32]

Track listing[edit]

The soundtrack features three original tracks – a cover of "Easy" by Sky Ferreira, "Chase Me" by Danger Mouse, featuring Run the Jewels and Big Boi, and "Was He Slow?" by Kid Koala.[29]

No. Title Artist(s) Length
1. "Bellbottoms" Jon Spencer Blues Explosion 5:17
2. "Harlem Shuffle" Bob & Earl 2:52
3. "Egyptian Reggae" Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers 2:37
4. "Smokey Joe's La La" Googie Rene 3:02
5. "Let's Go Away for Awhile" The Beach Boys 2:21
6. "B-A-B-Y" Carla Thomas 2:57
7. "Kashmere" Kashmere Stage Band 4:57
8. "Unsquare Dance" Dave Brubeck 2:00
9. "Neat Neat Neat" The Damned 2:42
10. "Easy (Single Version)" The Commodores 4:16
11. "Debora" T. Rex 3:19
12. "Debra" Beck 5:43
13. "Bongolia" Incredible Bongo Band 2:15
14. "Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)" The Detroit Emeralds 3:53
15. "Early in the Morning" Alexis Korner 3:01
16. "The Edge" David McCallum 2:54
17. "Nowhere to Run" Martha and the Vandellas 3:02
18. "Tequila" The Button Down Brass 3:32
19. "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby" Sam & Dave 3:16
20. "Every Little Bit Hurts" Brenda Holloway 2:57
21. "Intermission" Blur 2:27
22. "Hocus Pocus" (original single version) Focus 3:18
23. "Radar Love" (1973 single edit) Golden Earring 3:44
24. "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" Barry White 4:51
25. "Know How" Young MC 4:02
26. "Brighton Rock" Queen 5:10
27. "Easy" Sky Ferreira 4:28
28. "Baby Driver" Simon & Garfunkel 3:16
29. "Was He Slow?" (credit roll version) Kid Koala 1:47
30. "Chase Me" Danger Mouse featuring Run the Jewels and Big Boi 3:27
Total length: 1:43:53

Charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[33] 5
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[34] 56
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[35] 55
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[36] 78
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[37] 40
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[38] 66
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[39] 76
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[40] 16
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[41] 52
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[42] 54
US Billboard 200[43] 27

Lawsuit[edit]

In August 2017, Rolan Feld, son of T. Rex lead vocalist Marc Bolan, sued Sony Pictures, Media Rights Capital, and Bambino Films for using the band's song "Debora" without permission.[44]

Release[edit]

In August 2015, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that the film would be released on March 17, 2017. It was briefly pushed back to August 11, 2017, before settling on June 28, 2017.[45] It had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 11, 2017.[46] Sony will re-release the film across theaters on the weekend of August 25.[47]

Box office[edit]

As of August 13, 2017, Baby Driver has grossed $100 million in the United States and Canada and $66.7 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $166.8 million, against a production budget of $34 million.[5]

In North America, Baby Driver was initially projected to gross $12–20 million from 3,150 theaters over its first five days, with the possibility to earn more due to strong reviews.[4] The film made $5.7 million on its first day (including $2.1 million from Tuesday night previews) and $3.3 million on Thursday.[48] It made $6 million on Friday, increasing five-day projections to $27 million. It ended up opening to $21 million (and a five-day total of $30 million), finishing second at the box office, behind fellow newcomer Despicable Me 3 ($72.4 million). This marked the biggest American debut of Wright's career, doubling the $10.6 million opening of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in 2010.[49] In its second weekend the film grossed $13 million (a drop of 36.7%), finishing third at the box office[50] and in its third weekend made $8.8 million, finishing fourth.[51]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 94% based on 265 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Stylish, exciting, and fueled by a killer soundtrack, Baby Driver hits the road and it's gone—proving fast-paced action movies can be smartly written without sacrificing thrills."[52] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a score of 86 out of 100, based on 52 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[53] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[48]

Peter Debruge of Variety called the film "a blast, featuring wall-to-wall music and a surfeit of inspired ideas".[54] The New York Times' Manohla Dargis listed the film as a "NYT Critic’s Pick", writing that the film "is so good that you want it to be better and go deeper, for it to put down its guns (or at least hold them differently) and transcend its clichés and cine-quotes so it can rocket out of the genre safe box into the cosmic beyond where craft and technique transform into art".[55] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film five out of five stars, listing it as his "film of the week" and calling it an "outrageously enjoyable petrolhead heist caper".[56]

CNN's Brian Lowry wrote that the film "is a crackling-good ride, one that organically weaves music and humor into a slick showcase for its cast. Despite a few plotholes toward the end, writer-director Edgar Wright's stylish thriller consistently clicks on all cylinders".[57] Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars, and called it "fluid and jaw-dropping—the kind of thing you want to see immediately again after it's over to catch all the things you missed".[58] Empire's Terri White gave the film five out of five stars, calling it an "awe-inspiring piece of filmmaking" and "one of the most utterly original films in years".[59]

Amid the positive reviews, there were several negative reviews. Joyce Slaton of Common Sense Media, rated Baby Driver three out of five stars. Despite praising the driving sequences and music, Slaton felt that the film "quickly slump[s] into stereotypes" and "fails to grab viewers on a visceral level", particularly criticizing Baby's backstory and the portrayal of Debora and Darling.[60] Richard Brody of The New Yorker said "It is...an imitation of generation’s worth of imitations." He continues, "Wright’s apparent commercial success in his enterprise...contrasts with—and perhaps depends on—a conspicuous lack of artistic vision. 'Baby Driver' plays like a Disneyfied version of an action film...The action is, in short, thin yet heavy, burdened with a pointless complexity that serves, above all, to mask—with music and quick cuts—the insignificance, impersonality, and indistinctness of each of its elements...In “Baby Driver,” no one has anything to say about anything. The prevailing gentility of “Baby Driver” depends on its absence of substance." He concludes: "[This] movie has still satisfied critics who are in love with the idea of Hollywood providing something that’s not based on a superhero franchise, providing something that, with its retro soundtrack and retro cleanness, reminds them of a Hollywood that no longer exists."[61]

References[edit]

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  61. ^ Richard Brody (July 3 2017). "“Baby Driver,” an Artificially Sweetened Hollywood Heist Film". The New Yorker.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]