Review: Baby Driver
Baby Driver should be right up my street as a film.
The synopsis is as follows, and there was certainly a huge amount of hype before the release:
Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. After meeting the woman (Lily James) of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his shady lifestyle and make a clean break. Coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), Baby must face the music as a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.
An American action crime film, citing influences from 90’s heist classics such as Reservoir Dogs, Heat and Point Break and a great supporting cast; what’s not to like?
Unfortunately, having now watched it - a lot.
Without spoiling things (though Mark Kermode seems quite happy to in his Guardian review), it’s a great concept but is lacking.
The opening fifteen minutes or so are fantastic, with the music choreographed to a genuinely impressive car chase. In another scene, Bob & Earl’s Harlem Shuffle plays and the lyrics appears on the street through signs and grafitti which works well.
Unfortunately those are the highlights and it’s pretty much downhill from there. Supporting characters are clichéd (which I presume is intentional given the references) yet there’s no depth to any of them (especially Debora), so it’s hard to care about any of the protagonists.
The story is thin at best and various plot devices are required to link scenes which leave large holes in the logic. The first twenty minutes are good, the first hour ok but the second half is a waste of time.
In summary, Baby Driver feels like a film that’s just a bit too pleased with itself. Yes; choreographing a heist / car chase movie to a soundtrack is quite original but there has to be more to it than that.
The strange thing for me was how much the critics are fawning over it - most reviews are 5-star and include lines such as “should be instantly included in the conversation with the best car chase/heist movies of all time.” (!?!).
After a quick google, only the Specator had a review which tallied with my feelings, although reading the reader comments below reviews or scanning IMDB gives some balance.
Maybe it’s simply that originality is such a rare commodity at the moment in Hollywood, but for me this is a 3/5 film at best.