Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver does its best to tick every box, but I couldn’t help leave feeling unfulfilled…
So who or what is Baby Driver?
The eponymous Baby is a young man with sunglasses, played by Abercrombie & Fitch model Ansel Elgort. Baby really likes driving, which is surprising since he nearly died in a car accident as a toddler. Sadly, his mother wasn’t so lucky. But hey, at least he’s reminded by this traumatic, life-altering event every day due to chronic tinnitus!
Well, it’s a ringing in the ears that comes from within the body. Lots of people have it; 6 million in the UK alone. It can be a slight annoyance, but for others it can be pretty fucking awful.
Indeed. Thankfully, Baby’s isn’t so bad. All he has to do is listen to some sweet retro songs on his plethora of iPods to drown it out. And just like in Baby’s life, music plays a big part in the film too. Sometimes to its detriment, sadly.
Baby’s penchant for driving, and a rather fortuitous meeting with “crime boss” Kevin Spacey, throw Baby a rather lucky (or not) gig as a getaway driver for bank robbers. And every car chase (and often ensuing) gunfight is synched to the sweet retro songs on Baby’s iPod. You know, to stop the tinnitus.
Car chases? Gunfights?
Yes there are a few of those. Some of them work, some of them don’t. But it’s hard to shake the fact that the film is trying a bit too hard to be cool.
Well Kevin Spacey’s cool! Who else is in it?
Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, for some reason. And Jamie Foxx, who absolutely steals every scene – bringing the right amount of cool and crazy as one of Kevin Spacey’s thieves.
Jon Hamm too, but he doesn’t fare as well – especially toward the end of the film.
We’ll get to that.
In that case, start at the beginning.
Ok, so when we meet Baby, he’s indebted to Kevin Spacey, and is working off said debt by getaway driving pre -and post – bank heists.
With the debt nearly paid off, Baby meets a waitress at a local diner, and after five minutes they fall in love, so he decides to put the life of crime behind him, and ride off into the sunset with new beau in tow.
Five minutes seems a little rushed for love to blossom.
And it is. The love story is relatively half baked and rushed, but necessary to give Baby an out of the city and the life.
So he does the job and they ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after, right?
Not quite! Kevin Spacey is bad, so after Baby’s final job, he threatens him to stay on for ‘one last job’ that’ll pay big.
Obviously things go bad, people die, and the waitress becomes tangled in the whole affair.
It sounds like a decent synopsis for a film.
It does, and it is. Sadly, a few third act developments with Hamm’s character bring a ‘Wright’ level of farce to a film that doesn’t need it, and even at a rather short 113 minutes, it does go on a bit after multiple final showdowns.
Farce aside, is it funny?
In parts, yes. I did chuckle at some of the jokes, especially Foxx’s deadpan delivery. Sadly, others fell flat.
And the music?
The soundtrack is one of the film’s highlights, for sure. When I heard about the way the film synched scenes to songs, I was sold.
Sadly, in practice it doesn’t work as well as it could. Still, it’s good to see a filmmaker elevating a relatively standard story with some style, even if it doesn’t nail it completely.
At the end of the day, should I see it?
I wouldn’t be too bothered if I never saw it again, so it’s pretty hard to recommend it to anyone else!
I guess not.