August 11, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

The Kid Stays in the (Car) Picture

If you know anything about Edgar Wright, you’ll know he’s a director with a definite ear. He cuts with a rhythm that hypnotically draws you in while calling your attention to the man behind the curtain – although never in a way that feels smug, obnoxious, or pandering. A rare feat, indeed. From his earliest days directing “Spaced” with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, his frequent partners in crime (See: the splendid Cornetto Trilogy encompassed by “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” and “The World’s End”) Wright has distinguished himself as a director who doesn’t let his love of film and trivia hinder him from making his own great works. Unlike some others we could mention (ahem, Tarantino.)

As a decidedly quirky director with a deeply British sensibility, it’s taken Wright a minute to find his mainstream legs. His most polished, highly-funded effort comes in the form of “Baby Driver,” a film that takes a page out of the cars, kids and rebels film genre of the 50s and early 60s. Starring Ansel Elgort – whose earlier turn in “The Fault in Our Stars” left audiences largely unimpressed – as a mostly silent, tinnitus-suffering getaway driver for Kevin Spacey’s crime ring, “Baby Driver” is an extremely simple movie. There are no real twists and turns and no hidden agendas. “Baby Driver” is the story of relatively simple drives and desires:  The story of a kid who, despite his criminal talent, wants to get on the straight and narrow. A kid whose life could be ruined at any moment by one bad job.

“Baby” lost his parents as a kid, in a car accident (go figure), which left him with the tinnitus and an inexplicable urge to steal cars. This habit lands him in deep shit with white collar crime boss Spacey, who makes him work off the debt in heists. As a driver, Baby is talented, inscrutable, and unable to put down his old-school iPod for even a second during each job. This gets under the skin of the some of Baby’s more seasoned colleagues (Jon Hamm, an excellent Jamie Foxx) and confounds most of the people he meets – except, of course, his love interest, Lily James, with whom he has a natural musical rapport.

Baby has been supporting his deaf, wheelchair-bound foster parent for years, and after meeting Lily James at a diner, wants to keep doing just that, by working a normal job, with normal stakes, and no possibility of sudden death. But this is not to be: Kevin Spacey wants him to keep driving even after he pays off his debt. So he does.

On paper, it’s not much of a plot. And even on film, it’s not much of a plot. But plot, with Wright – who also scripted the film – is secondary. It’s how we get there. We spend most of the film not only inside Baby’s mind but inside his earpods, listening to the soundtrack of his world, moving and living rhythmically as he does. It’s here that we can start to see a kind of pattern, a raison d’etre for the mysteriously unambitious Baby. Driving cars may be an escape route for the practical criminal – but living life to one’s own private rhythm, that’s the working man’s escape. It’s what we all do, day in and day out, drowning out the world with constant sound. For Baby, who physically can’t hear silence, it amplifies the world around him. It allows him to fully live in it. Wright’s film, through the character of Baby, becomes an escape film about someone who’s trying his best not to escape. Who, in fact, wants nothing more than to stay put, to settle down, and to belong.

Related Posts

31st GLAAD “Virtual” Awards

July 15, 2020

July 15, 2020

GLAAD the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today announced that it will host...

Los Angeles Premiere of Latinx LGBTQ Film at Outfest Fusion

February 26, 2020

February 26, 2020

“Acuitzeramo” screening March 9 By Staff Writer Outfest Fusion presents the Los Angeles premiere of Cabaldana Alchemy’s short film “Acuitzeramo”...

USC One Archives to Host Screening of Film on Black Trans Woman to Honor Black History Month

February 1, 2020

February 1, 2020

Meet Mary Jones, a black transgender woman born in New York in 1803. Described as a “man-monster” in the press. ...

HRC to Honor Dan Levy, Janelle Monáe at Award Ceremony in DTLA

January 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

Award Season is upon us, and the LGBTQ+ Community is not immune. HRC announced today that actor Dan Levy will...

LGBTQ+ Ally Taylor Swift to Receive GLAAD’s Vanguard Award

January 7, 2020

January 7, 2020

GLAAD announced Tuesday, Jan. 7 that Taylor Swift with receive the Vanguard Award at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards. ...

5 Holiday Movies and TV Episodes Featuring Happy Queer Plot Lines

December 22, 2019

December 22, 2019

Christmas is just around the corner and yet, you’re still searching for more holiday cheer? Flip on Lifetime or Hallmark...

Hallmark Apologizes, Reinstates Commercials Featuring Same-Sex Couple

December 16, 2019

December 16, 2019

Hallmark Channel faced a wave of social backlash after its parent company – Crown Media Family Networks – quietly removed...

‘Tis the “Season of Love” in Queer Holiday Rom-Com

November 30, 2019

November 30, 2019

Every holiday season traditional and streaming networks create a ton of holiday romantic comedies but they consistently fail to create...

Documentary Honors Los Angeles’ LGBTQ+ Vets for Veterans Day

November 11, 2019

November 11, 2019

In honor of Veterans Day, some LGBT Senior Veterans at the Los Angeles LGBT Center shared their stories and experiences...

GAY LA: Judy Never Really Left Los Angeles

November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019

How the queer Icon has shaped L.A. There’s no doubt about it: 2019 is the year of Judy Garland. In...

More Than Just Another Gay Character

October 17, 2019

October 17, 2019

In Hollywood, LGBTQ+ characters that are more than just — well, LGBTQ+ — can be hard to come by. Most...

LGBTQ Youth Encouraged to Create Video Shorts for The Trevor Project

September 12, 2019

September 12, 2019

OUR PRIDE Video Fest announced a Call for Entries for videos about metal health, suicide prevention Calling all LGBTQ+ youth...

“Killer Unicorn” Film Slays in LA

June 12, 2019

June 12, 2019

Danny is your average Brooklyn party boy. This year, he and his friends couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming...

Going Bak in Time with a Photographer

May 30, 2019

May 30, 2019

Spying a thirteen-year-old Sunny Bak, amongst a crowd of New York paparazzi, Elizabeth Taylor showed concern that the young photographer...

The Revolution Will Be Televised

May 27, 2019

May 27, 2019

For the first time ever, the L.A. Pride parade will air on live television.  When the first Los Angeles Pride...