Everything you need to know about Baby Driver, the surprise “best movie of the year”.

The movie soundtrack everybody will be listening to this weekend.
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The movie soundtrack everybody will be...

Honestly, it would be such a shame if you were to go to heaven without seeing the opening scene of Baby Driver.

The film opens on Baby (Ansel Elgort) carefully selecting a song on his iPod as he and a group of fellow criminals prepare to pull off a heist as they sit outside a bank in a 10-year-old Subaru WRX.

Once his masked colleagues escape from the building with their loot, the music jumps into over drive as Baby puts his foot down. What comes next is hands down the best car chase sequence to ever play out on the big screen as the crew craftily evade the Atlanta police who are hot on their trail.

Ansel Elgort as Baby in Baby Driver. Source: Sony Pictures.

The song thumping in the background of this sequence is Bellbottoms by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. A song that Baby Driver writer and director Edgar Wright tells me was the basis around which his entire blockbuster movie is built.

"I heard that song when I was 21 and I’ve been thinking about the film ever since," he said.

When you see this film, it's easy to conclude that it's a labour of cinematic love decades in the making.

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Baby is a 20-year-old orphan whose getaway car driving skills are unparalleled.

As a teenager living in the foster care system, he hijacks a car from a criminal mastermind called Doc (Kevin Spacey, who plays the role like he's Frank Underwood in a deliciously evil pantomime) a car that was packed with highly valuable yet not quite legal merchandise that Baby accidentally destroys.

Baby is a 20 year old orphan whose getaway car driving skills are unparalleled. Source: Sony Pictures.

Instead of "breaking his legs and killing everyone he loves" Doc drafts Baby onto his team. Making him the getaway driver of every heist he oversees until his enormous debt is finally repaid.

The first heist team we are introduced to includes Buddy (Jon Hamm), a handsome bandit who seems roguishly endearing at first, but who has a darker side that slowly seeps out as the film progresses and Darling (Eiza González) his wife and the ultimate Bonnie to his Clyde.

Darling herself is a captivating character who seems equally at home in the role of "supportive, loving wide" as she does in "bad-ass criminal mastermind who can hold her own in a shoot out."

Along for the film's second string of heists is Bats (Jamie Foxx, in a role he clearly relishes playing on the big screen) a unhinged gun happy thief who is just one of the many characters to underestimate Baby and accuse him of being "retarded and slow". All due to the fact that he constantly has headphones pumping music into his ears.

Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eiza González). Source: Sony Pictures.

What he doesn't realise is Baby has a case of severe tinnitus and can only escape the ringing in his ears with the help of his trusty tunes.

“Three years ago when I first found out we were really going to do Baby Driver, the first thing the studio said to me was ‘who is going to play Baby?’," says Wright.

"Ansel was one of the first actors I saw for the role. And I just thought there was something very interesting and charismatic about his face. He could really hold the lens, which is something that not a lot of actors can do.

"Baby Driver is really about this young professional who is up against these seasoned pros and so was (the making of) this movie. So then off screen it was a similar thing, with that kind of tension on set."

While trying to escape Doc's hold, Baby meets meets diner waitress Debora (a charming Lily James) and the two strike up an old school Hollywood romance, complete with a beautifully choreographed scene in a laundromat. A scene that will ensure you never look at a washing machine without getting misty-eyed ever again.

Lily James and Ansel Elgort as Debora and Baby in Baby Driver. Source: Sony Pictures.

If I was held at gunpoint during a heist and asked to describe Baby Driver in one sentence I would say it’s an action comedy thriller romance that flirts with being a musical. As one of my colleagues so rightly puts it,"It's almost everything we wanted La La Land to be. It takes the idea of a modern musical to the next level."

The soundtrack itself could almost be credited as an additional character in the film, so essential is it's presence to the plot.

Unlike the majority of films in existence, Baby Driver shuns the idea of incidental or background music. Instead, Wright chooses to let the bulk of his carefully selected songs, nearly 30 in total, play out at close to full length while the action unfolds.

Baby does everything from reverse the getaway car, walk down the street and even make a sandwich to a carefully choreographed series of moments set to the music.

The biggest and best shootout of the film takes place to the tune of Tequila (although it's not the original Champs version you probably know. It's a cover by the Button Down Brass) and the bullets even hit flesh in perfect time to the beat.

The cast of Baby Driver. Source: Sony Pictures.

It's in some of the scenes, the scenes with zero dialogue but intense music, that the character Baby is at his strongest and most compelling.

This is in fact something Ansel Elgort tells me he did on purpose while filming.

“It’s hard to describe how I got into the character, but you don’t always need lines of dialogue to bring across a strong character and to make them human," he said.

“Look, I never quite feared for my life or anything while making the movie. The stunts were a lot of fun to film and it’s actually the most fun I’ve ever had doing stunts. In fact, this movie has turned me into a stunt junky."

Although he was never worried about pulling of some of Baby Driver's death-defying stunts, Elgort admits he was nervous about working against a super-star cast of Hollywood heavyweights that included Spacey, Hamm and Foxx.

“At first it was intimidating, but those guys are the most generous guys," he said. "They are just so much more than you would ever expect from such big movie stars. Sometimes, you hear these horror stories about people who are that famous and accomplished, but they were welcoming."

Baby Driver is the kind of movie that will have audiences standing and cheering in their seats (and will probably lead to an increase in speeding fines, if I'm being perfectly honest) and it's also one that we'll be quoting for years to come.

Baby Driver is in cinemas Australia wide right now. 

You can follow Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik here. 

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