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 and UK)
Running time
113 minutes[2]
Country
  • United States[2][3]
  • United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $34 million[4]
Box office $226.9 million[5]

Baby Driver is a 2017 action film written and directed by Edgar Wright. The plot follows Baby (Ansel Elgort), a music lover who is coerced to work as a getaway driver for kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey). The film also stars Lily James as Baby's love interest, and Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx as criminals who work for Doc. The film features choreography in which the actors' actions synchronize with its soundtrack. Wright conceived the project after envisioning a car chase set to the 1994 song "Bellbottoms" by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, which he used as the film's opening scene.

Filming took place from February to May 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was co-produced by Working Title Films, Big Talk Productions and Media Rights Capital, and was distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Releasing and by TriStar Pictures in the US. It premiered at South by Southwest on March 11, 2017, and was released theatrically on June 28, 2017.[6][7]

Baby Driver was praised for its screenplay, direction, acting, action sequences, and soundtrack. It was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2017. It grossed $226 million worldwide on a production budget of $34 million, The film received several awards and nominations, including three nominations at the 90th Academy Awards (for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing), two nominations at the 23rd Critics' Choice Awards (winning one) and the 71st British Academy Film Awards (winning one), as well a Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy nomination for Elgort at the 75th Golden Globe Awards.

Plot[edit]

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

While waiting for his next job Baby meets a young waitress named Debora; the pair quickly bond over their interests in music and fall in love. Doc then assembles a new robbery crew which consists of Eddie "No Nose," JD and Bats, who takes an immediate dislike to Baby. The robbery goes awry after an armed bystander chases Baby and the crew down but Baby successfully evades him and the police. Having paid his debt, Baby quits his life of crime and starts delivering pizzas instead. While Baby is on a date with Debora, Doc blackmails him into joining a heist, threatening to hurt Debora and Joseph if he refuses.

Having assembled a crew including Buddy, Darling and Bats, with Baby acting as their driver, Doc explains the heist: to steal boxes of money orders from a post office, which he will be able to convert to cash though one of his contacts. While the crew attempt to purchase illegal arms for the job, Bats recognizes the dealers as police and opens fire. The group kills all of the dealers and Darling is injured in the crossfire. Afterward, Bats makes Baby stop at the diner Debora works at, unaware of the pair's romance. To avoid paying for drinks, Bats almost shoots her, but Baby, aware of Bats' homicidal habit, stops him.

After arriving back at the safe house, Doc is furious, revealing that the dealers were dirty cops on his payroll. He decides to cancel the heist, but after discussion within the group, Doc lets Baby decide; Baby chooses to go through with it. Baby attempts to slip away late that night, hoping to take Debora and leave town for good. He 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 away, causing Bats to hit him in the face with a shotgun. In return, Baby rams the car into a bundle of rebar, which impales Bats, killing him. The remaining three flee on foot. After the police kill Darling in a shootout, Buddy blames Baby for her death and vows to kill him. Baby steals a car and flees to his apartment. Baby leaves Joseph at an assisted living home with all of the money Baby earned from heists to pay for his care. Baby drives to Debora's diner to pick her up, where an armed Buddy is waiting. Baby shoots Buddy, leaves him to be arrested, and flees with Debora as the police close in. The pair steal a car from a couple of junkies and drive away. Meanwhile, Buddy shoots a police officer.

Baby seeks help from Doc, who initially refuses to help. After seeing that Baby truly loves Debora, Doc supplies them with cash and directions to get out of the country, stating that he was in love once. The police that Bats had supposedly massacred earlier confront the three in the parking garage, but Doc kills them. Buddy then ambushes them with a stolen police car, driving into Doc and killing him. A cat-and-mouse game ensues until Buddy has Baby at his mercy. Vowing to take something that Baby loves from Baby, he fires his gun near both of Baby's ears, deafening him. Debora disarms Buddy with a crowbar and Baby shoots him in the leg, causing him to fall to his death.

Fleeing Atlanta, Baby and Debora run into a police roadblock. Baby surrenders, telling Debora she does not belong in the world of crime. At Baby's trial Joseph, Debora and several people Baby had either saved or helped during various robberies testify for him. The judge sentences Baby to 25 years in prison with the possibility of parole after five. While serving his prison sentence, he receives postcards from Debora who promises to wait for him. When Baby is released on the day of the parole, he finds Debora waiting for him.

Cast[edit]

  • Ansel Elgort as Baby, 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 and Baby's love interest
  • Jon Bernthal as Griff, one of Doc's gang
  • Jon Hamm as Buddy, a gritty party animal and former banker; a frequent member of Doc's gang
  • Jamie Foxx as Bats, an impulsive, violent member of Doc's gang
  • Eiza Gonzalez as Monica 'Darling', one of Doc's gang of bank robbers, Buddy's lawless and scandalous wife and partner in crime[9]
  • Flea as Eddie, one of Doc's gang[10]
  • Sky Ferreira as Baby's Mom
  • Lanny Joon as JD, one of Doc's gang
  • R. Marcus Taylor as Armie, a gun runner
  • CJ Jones as Joseph, Baby's deaf foster father
  • Lance Palmer as Baby's Dad
  • 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]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Writer-director Edgar Wright conceived Baby Driver in 1995, while living in North London, after listening to the song "Bellbottoms" by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.[12] Wright envisioned a bank robbery and car chase set to the song, which became the first scene of the film.[13] He adapted the first opening he conceived for the film into a 2003 music video he directed for Mint Royale's "Blue Song",[14] starring Noel Fielding as a music-loving getaway driver for a group of bank robbers.[15] A clip of the music video is shown briefly in Baby Driver as the main character flips between television channels.[16] Other inspirations for the film came from the films Straight Time, Point Break, Reservoir Dogs and Heat.[15]

Casting[edit]

The film was announced in July 2014.[17] By January 2015 it was reported that Ansel Elgort was in talks to star.[18] Elgort's audition required him to lip sync and dance to the song of his choosing. Elgort chose "Easy" by The Commodores which resonated with Wright to the point where he would include the song in the movie.[19]

Emma Stone and Michael Douglas were also rumoured to be in the cast.[20] 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.[21][22]

Jamie Foxx was reported to be in talks to join the film on September 8, 2015.[23] On October 20, 2015, Jon Hamm signed on to play one of the villains, a former Wall Street trader turned member of the gang. Wright first met Jon Hamm when Hamm first hosted SNL, at the afterparty. He wrote the character of Buddy for him.[22] On November 3, 2015, it was announced that Kevin Spacey had been cast as a veteran criminal and the boss of the crew.[24] On December 16, 2015, Eiza González joined the film to play one of the bank robbers—the wife of Hamm's character.[25] Jon Bernthal was cast as Griff, another one of the gang, on February 23, 2016.[26]

Wright enlisted choreographer Ryan Heffington to sync the actors' timing and movements with the soundtrack.[27][28]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia, began on February 17, 2016, and concluded on May 13.[29][30] Wright didn't want to shoot "leafy, woody" Atlanta because a leafy freeway makes you feel like the characters have gotten away or looks too much like Smokey and the Bandit in the country. So for almost the entirety of the movie they shot in urban areas. The state of Georgia offered to shut down rural freeways for their use, but Wright wanted to shoot in the heart of the city.

Soundtrack[edit]

Wright started writing the film properly in 2007, at which point he connected with then-music supervisor Steven Price who broke down the songs for him. Price had previously scored The World's End (another Edgar Wright film) and Gravity, and had won an Oscar for the latter.

Wright also layered in the whine of the tinnitus through the studio logos leading into the beginning of the movie's first song, which he put together with Steven Price. Quentin Tarantino read the script and told Wright about another song called "Deborah" by Dave Edmunds, but the character in the song was "a complete bitch," so Wright opted to just use the T-Rex and Beck "Debora/Debra" songs instead.

The soundtrack album for Baby Driver was released on June 23, 2017, featuring thirty songs used in the film. A second volume, Baby Driver Vol. 2: The Score for a Score, was released April 13, 2018, featuring Price's original score, songs that inspired the film, and music from the film remixed with sound effects from scenes in the film.

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 a final date of June 28, 2017 was settled on.[31] Baby Driver had its world premiere at the South by Southwest film festival on March 11, 2017.[32] On the weekend of August 25, the film was re-released in 1,074 theaters.[33]

Home media[edit]

Baby Driver was released on Digital Media on September 12, 2017, and on 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray & DVD October 10, 2017, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.[34] The film debuted at No. 2 on both the NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.[35]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Baby Driver grossed $107.8 million in the United States and Canada and $119.1 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $226.9 million, against a production budget of $34 million.[5] Deadline Hollywood calculated the film made a net profit of $51.5 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[36]

In the US and Canada, Baby Driver was 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.[37] 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 behind another new release, 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.[38] In its second weekend, Baby Driver grossed $13 million (a drop of 36.7%), finishing third at the box office;[39] in its third weekend, the film made $8.8 million, finishing fourth.[40] The film was re-released into 1,074 theaters on August 25 and made $1.2 million, up 34% from the previous week.[41]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 93% based on 325 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. The website'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."[42] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 86 out of 100, based on 53 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[43] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[37]

Peter Debruge of Variety called the film "a blast, featuring wall-to-wall music and a surfeit of inspired ideas".[44] 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".[45] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film five out of five, listing it as his "film of the week" and calling it an "outrageously enjoyable petrolhead heist caper".[46]

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".[47] Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave the film three-and-a-half out of four, 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".[48] Empire's Terri White gave the film five out of five, calling it an "awe-inspiring piece of filmmaking" and "one of the most utterly original films in years".[49]

However, there were several less positive reviews. Rating Baby Driver three out of five, Joyce Slaton of Common Sense Media praised the driving sequences and music, but 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.[50] In a dismissive review, Richard Brody of The New Yorker cited many flaws, calling it "an imitation of generation's worth of imitations."[51]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards March 4, 2018 Best Film Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Nominated [52]
Best Sound Editing Julian Slater Nominated
Best Sound Mixing Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists January 9, 2018 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Nominated [53]
American Cinema Editors January 26, 2018 Best Edited Feature Film – Comedy or Musical Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Nominated [54]
British Academy Film Awards February 18, 2018 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [55]
Best Sound Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis and Julian Slater Nominated
Casting Society of America January 18, 2018 Big Budget – Drama Francine Maisler and Meagan Lewis Nominated [56]
Chicago Film Critics Association December 12, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [57]
Cinema Audio Society Awards February 24, 2018 Motion Picture — Live Action Mark Appleby, Tim Cavagin, Gareth Cousins, Mary H. Ellis, Glen Gathard and Julian Slater Nominated [58]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 11, 2018 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [59]
Best Action Movie Baby Driver Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society December 7, 2017 Best Use of Music Baby Driver Won [60]
Empire Awards March 18, 2018 Best Director Edgar Wright Nominated [61]
[62]
Best Male Newcomer Ansel Elgort Nominated
Best Thriller Baby Driver Nominated
Best Production Design Baby Driver Won
Best Soundtrack Baby Driver Won
Georgia Film Critics Association January 12, 2018 Best Film Baby Driver Nominated [63]
Best Director Edgar Wright Nominated
Oglethorpe Award for Excellence in Georgia Cinema Edgar Wright Won
Golden Globe Awards January 7, 2018 Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Ansel Elgort Nominated [64]
Golden Reel Awards February 18, 2018 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Music Score Julian Slater and Bradley Farmer Nominated [65]
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Dialogue / ADR Julian Slater and Dan Morgan Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Effects / Foley Julian Slater, Jeremy Price, Martin Cantwell, Arthur Graley, Rown Watson, Peter Hanson, Zoe Freed and Peter Burgis Nominated
Golden Tomato Awards January 3, 2018 Best Wide Release 2017 Baby Driver 7th Place [66]
Best Action Movie 2017 Baby Driver Won
IndieWire Critic's Poll December 19, 2016 Most Anticipated of 2017 Baby Driver Nominated [67]
Location Managers Guild Awards April 7, 2018 Outstanding Locations in Contemporary Film Doug Dresser, Kyle Hinshaw Won [68]
Outstanding Film Commission Atlanta Mayor's Office of Film & Entertainment Won
London Film Critics' Circle January 28, 2018 Technical Achievement Award Darrin Prescott (stunts) Nominated [69]
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild February 24, 2018 Feature Motion Picture: Best Contemporary Makeup Fionagh Cush and Phyllis Temple Nominated [70]
National Board of Review January 4, 2018 Top Ten Films Baby Driver Won [71]
New York Film Critics Online December 10, 2017 Best Use of Music Baby Driver Won [72]
NME Awards February 14, 2018 Best Film Baby Driver Won [73]
Online Film Critics Society December 28, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Runner-up [74]
[75]
San Diego Film Critics Society December 11, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [76]
Best Use of Music Baby Driver Won
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards December 10, 2017 Best Film Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [77]
Satellite Awards February 10, 2018 Best Film Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Nominated [78]
Saturn Awards June 27, 2018 Best Action or Adventure Film Baby Driver Nominated [79]
Screen Actors Guild Awards January 21, 2018 Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture Baby Driver Nominated [80]
Seattle Film Critics Society December 18, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Nominated [81]
St. Louis Film Critics Association December 17, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [82]
[83]
Best Soundtrack Baby Driver Won
Best Scene Baby goes for coffee (opening credits) Runner-up
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association December 8, 2017 Best Editing Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos Won [84]

Sequel[edit]

On December 5, 2017, Wright confirmed that Sony Pictures would like to produce a sequel to Baby Driver, and that he planned to write the screenplay for it.[85]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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