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Baby Driver: Behind the Music

If you haven't seen this film, Baby Driver (2017), directed by Edgar Wright, you are missing out on a really great film. Not only is it a must-watch (especially if you're an action fan), but it's also really original. There isn't one sound in the film, and especially the ones present in the chases, that isn't in rhythm with the beat of the music. This music is either the music of the film or the music that the main character, Baby, listens to.

The idea for the film came about in 1995, when the director heard Bellbottoms by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion for the first time. It's actually the very first song we hear in the film.

The music was so important to Wright that he would actually first choose the song and then think up the scene. As the plot depends on the music, the director acquired the rights of all the songs to be able to play with them how he wanted.

The main character, Baby, is played by Ansel Elgort. This is no coincidence. Wright choose Ansel Elgort because he felt it was necessary for the lead role to have music knowledge. Elgort is also a musician and has released a number of singles.

To get as much ispiration as possible, Wright studied police chases and interviewed real life delinquents to get to know the real tecniques that were used in a real chase. This way, the scenes resembeled reality. The script is inspired in other action classics such as Driver, Raising Arizona, The Blues Brothers or Riding Bean.

As music was such an important part of the story, with each script sent to the actors, there also came an iPod with the songs for the scene so that the actors were aware of the tone of the scene. Actually, there were quite a few chameos of singers and musicians in the film, such as Big Boy or Paul Williams.

The sound is so special and different on this film that it has obviously been recognised:

  • Nomination of an Oscar for best sound editing.

  • Nomination of an Oscar for best sound

  • Nomination of an Oscar for best postproduction

  • Nomination of an Golden Globe Award for best actor (comedy or musical)

  • Winner of BAFTA Awards for best postproduction

  • Nomination of BAFTA Awards for best sound

Although Baby Driver isn't classified as a musical, all the sounds and music in it play a main role. Most of the sounds are considered to be objective and contextual. The camera constantly changes it's shot so we can see where the sound is coming from. An example of this is when we hear police sirenes, we see the police cars in the rear view mirror.

One of the scenes that most stands out is the one with the shooting with the song Tequila. Each gun shot goes off to the sound of the music.

The original soundtrack of the film was created by Steven Prince. Although, we only hear a shortened version of the songs, these have been created with fewer chords and with longer notes. There is only one original song in the film, created by the artist Kid Koala. Its a compilation of a few phrases of dialogue from the film. It's called Was He Slow?

The film stands out for having such an extensive soundtrack. The playlist of Baby Driver is:

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Bellbottoms

Bob & Earl - Harlem Shuffle

Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Egyptian Reggae

Googie Rene – Smokey Joe’s La La The Beach Boys – Let’s Go Away For Awhile Carla Thomas – B-A-B-Y Kashmere Stage Band – Kashmere Dave Brubeck – Unsquare Dance The Damned – Neat Neat Neat The Commodores – Easy (Single Version) T. Rex – Debora Beck – Debra Incredible Bongo Band – Bongolia The Detroit Emeralds – Baby Let Me Take You (in My Arms) Alexis Korner – Early In The Morning David McCallum – The Edge Martha and the Vandellas – Nowhere To Run The Button Down Brass – Tequila Sam & Dave – When Something Is Wrong With My Baby Brenda Holloway – Every Little Bit Hurts Blur – Intermission Focus – Hocus Pocus (Original Single Version) Golden Earring – Radar Love (1973 Single Edit)

Barry White – Never, Never Gone Give Ya Up Young MC – Know How Queen – Brighton Rock Sky Ferreira – Easy Simon & Garfunkel – Baby Driver

This soundtrack is available as a CD, including the origal soundtracks of the film.

All in all, it's a one of a kind film that's definately worth a watch. The effort gone in to the filming and then consequently, the postproduction is simply outstanding.

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