Baby Driver – Film Review by Fran Winston
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal
In cinemas June 28th
Given that his previous directorial efforts include The Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgrim vs the World when you see Edgar Wright’s name attached to a flick you know it’s not going to be a straightforward narrative. Here he gives us a “jukebox heist movie” with some of the most slickly choreographed fight and shoot out scenes you will ever see.
Elgort plays Baby a young and talented getaway driver. After an accident as a child he suffers tinnitus so he relies on music to drown out the “hum in the drum”. Indeed when we first meet him he is on a job using his “soundtrack” to keep him focused. In debt to a mysterious criminal (Spacey) he knows that he is almost paid up and will soon get his life back so when he meets Debora (James) he quickly falls for her and starts making plans for his non-criminal future. But escaping the past isn’t that simple and when he’s sucked back in for one last job it could be the death of all involved.
As I said the choreography here is super slick and there is a particularly impressive shoot out that plays out to the famous song Tequila. Also the soundtrack is amazing. The effect of this though is that it detracts somewhat from what could have been a really gritty story. Also it is as if they picked the music over character development with many of the key players being clichéd stereotypes.
Elgort does a good job as Baby but there is very little chemistry between him and James. Also their romance is portrayed in such a roundabout fashion that you start to wonder why she would be willing to risk everything for him. Their story isn’t allowed to breathe. However he and Spacey bounce off each other well and their relationship is a huge part of the story. Unfortunately Hamm and Foxx are playing completely one dimensional characters that you don’t really care about at all. This is a shame because both are great actors and merit more than this.
This is an interesting movie but the chirpy music and bouncy choreography belies the dark subject matter and sometimes becomes confusing. Sadly Wright seems to have sacrificed substance for style. That’s not to say it’s not entertaining. You’ll be tapping your feet along to the soundtrack and oohing and ahhing at the movement. But ultimately it feels somewhat dissatisfying. A nice curio but it could have been so much more.