Baby Driver: a movie shot to the rhythm of the soundtrack
Yes, Chase is writing a piece about a movie with Kevin Spacey. But, without neglecting the serious offences to Spacey, Baby Driver is just too good a movie to not say something about it. You could write a whole book about the different aspects of the film: the costume design, the dialogues, the colors, the sound... Apart from being a visually stunning and cleverly edited film with incredibly well-made car scenes (yeah, take a good look Fast & Furious), there is one aspect that stands out: the music and sound design.
Music is an important theme in the movie. For example, Baby (yes, that is the name of the main character), has to listen to his old school iPods to drown out his tinnitus. Also, two of the lead actors are more or less famous musicians. There's of course Jamie Foxx, who we know from his collabs with Kanye West, T-Pain and Drake, but also Ansel Elgort, the star of the movie, is a rising music producer and dj, who produces some experimental tunes in the film.
Of course, there is more. In our opinion, the music is the most important aspect of Baby Driver. It feels like director Edgar Wright (who became famous with the British horror comedies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) first selected the songs and only afterwards created a movie around them. In a way, this is true. Wright said he got the idea for the film by hearing the garage rock song we hear in the opening scene: 'Bellbottoms' by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
Most movies are first shot, and only in a later phase songs are selected or composed. In Baby Driver, first there was the song, and only afterwards the movie was created with that song in mind. The other tunes we hear are specifically written into the script. They are as important as the dialogues. It is the music that gives the film its direction.
Everything in the film matches the songs we hear: the movements of the camera, the movements of the actors, the editing and the sound design. The way Edgar Wright achieved this, was by playing the music on set. As such the actors not only had to react to each other and the surroundings, but also to the music that was being played. On top of that the camera operators had to make sure their movements matched the music. The result is a movie that really feels like a very long music video. This is by no means a coincidence. Simply watch the music video below, which was directed by Wright. Looks familiar, doesn't it?
Baby Driver shows us just how important music can be for a movie, not only to set a mood, but to give it direction and meaning. This is a really different approach to making a movie. And we like it!
In Belgium Baby Driver is released digitally on November 22 and November 29 on DVD/BluRay and VOD.
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