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What does an American-set film from a director as distinctly British as Edgar Wright look like? Before this year, Wright had made one film outside of the United Kingdom, the 2010 cult favorite Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. As post-modern as his style can be, Wright hadn’t descended upon the United States before his latest, the exuberant and exhilarating Baby Driver. His most successful trio to this point, the so-called Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End), are specifically British despite American influences. So it’s easy to wonder if Baby Driver would feel like an Edgar Wright film in the same way as the Cornetto films.
Baby Driver does have a more distinctly American sensibility than Wright’s earlier films, but it’s just as packed with wit and clever detail. Take, for example, a single take over which the opening credits play as Ansel Elgort’s title character Baby goes to and from a local coffeehouse, all while listening and dancing to “Harlem Shuffle” by Bob and Earl. The joyous song-and-dance is punctuated by song lyrics appearing as graffiti in and around the buildings Baby cavorts and slides past, a sly gag that elevates the already delightful opening. It’s the kind of visual cleverness Wright has employed in the rest of his films; jokes like that, or similar gags in Hot Fuzz, when Timothy Dalton’s heavy stands in front of a portrait of himself, are a hallmark of Wright’s filmography.
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