Title – Baby Driver (2017)
Director – Edgar Wright (The Worlds End)
Cast – Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza González, Jon Bernthal
Plot – Reluctant getaway driver extraordinaire Baby (Elgort) finds himself falling in love with waitress Debora (James) but his complicated relationship with crime boss Doc (Spacey) threatens to tear the budding romance apart as Baby is drawn into a potentially deadly heist.
“The moment you catch feelings is the moment you catch a bullet”
Review by Eddie on 14/07/2017
Baby Driver is a cool film, you’ll become aware of this from the first minute of screen time and Baby Driver is certainly aware of it too.
Edgar Wright’s first American film oozes a cocksure arrogance (need proof, go back and re-watch the first 10 minutes), as it goes about telling the story of Ansel Elgort’s tinnitus suffering getaway driver Baby, whose like the octane fuelled love child of Colin McRae, Dominic Toretto and Steve McQueen for good measure.
It’s rare to see a filmmaker so assured of themselves and Wright’s humble beginnings that took shape as we now know them with two best mates stuck in a pub as zombies took over their city, have evolved and taken shape too allow the wunderkind to make Baby Driver not only a heist thriller, but one that confidently mixes in the most unlikely musical cues and comedic undercurrents in a fast paced, snappily edited and self-aware tribute too car lead action classics of yesteryear.
It’s unlikely that we’ll see a more whip smart Hollywood event this year of a film that’s more proficiently edited together scene to scene or in a sound editing sense and when Baby Driver is rocketing along at full speed, there’s barely a chance to take a breather as Baby’s dealings with Kevin Spacey’s criminal kingpin Doc and crew members like Jamie Foxx’s demented Bats and Jon Hamm’s Buddy get more dangerous and Baby’s feelings for Lilly James’s humble diner worker Debora start taking hold.
Wright really does create an often thrilling ride, but all the screeching tyres, smartly tuned edits that fall in place to an even hipper soundtrack and wink wink type dialogue, can’t help mask the fact that Baby Driver’s earnt smugness and quick-fire pacing culminates in a rather so-so finale and that the films frequently masking a fact that Baby himself isn’t exactly the most amazing of protagonists and his almost instantaneous courtship with Debora doesn’t click as it perhaps should’ve.
It may seem like nit-picking towards a film that achieves its goals of providing a near endlessly on the go narrative and frequently heart pounding car chases but with Wright so assuredly going about his business, he has set the bar high for judgements and made his films flaws or the more glaring for it.
It’s brave of Wright to centre a film of this nature around such an against the rule book main character, usually reserved for macho tough guys or arrogant handsome devils, and Elgort’s Baby is anything but the usual, but it doesn’t make him the most likeable of guys.
Making more than a few questionable character decisions and sometimes being too quiet for his own good, Baby is often too cold of a presence to make us truly care for his plight too escape a world in which he has fallen into and doesn’t belong to, no amount of haphazardly done flashbacks will change that fact and it’s hard to see why Collin’s likeable Debora would take such an instantaneous liking to a such a character.
With Baby not always winning us over, Wright does find some fun and Hamm-y (sorry Jon) turns from his supports with Kevin Spacey in particular stealing the show as the curiously likeable and sometimes detestable Doc. With Spacey on top form his ably supported by Jamie Foxx who is clearly relishing the chance to go all out as loose cannon Bats and Hamm makes his mark early as smooth criminal Buddy, before a final act stanza turns his performance into an over the top Terminator-light caricature, full of big eyes and a lust for blood that just doesn’t feel like scenario that was full developed or earnt.
Final Say –
At the end of the day there’s little point denying that Baby Driver is a rip-roaring crowd pleaser and your likely new favourite film, filled with dazzling car chases, fun over the top performances and Wright’s trademark dialogue smarts, but with the film already being labelled an instant classic by many, one can’t getaway from the feeling that Baby Driver’s reputation is already racing ahead of itself.
4 homeless James Bond’s out of 5
(I may’ve made this up, but did anyone else see Pierce Brosnan making a cameo, or am I just crazy?)
Update: There’s our homeless James Bond popping up in the titles scene!