Baby Driver is strange in that it’s the kind of movie that you can enjoy while also pointing out that it could have been better. It’s also weird in the sense that it is quite obvious to see why it’s good and why it doesn’t reach its full potential. That’s something that could sometimes lead to a negative review, but there’s enough here that honestly wouldn’t allow that.
In this movie directed by Edgar Wright, a young man who everyone calls Baby (Ansel Elgort) has been used as a getaway driver on a series of robberies around the Atlanta area. This has been going on for quite some time, but he’s now looking to get out since it seems that he’s settled everything with his boss (Kevin Spacey) and has met Debora (Lily James), the girl of his dreams. But before he can even think about pulling out, at least one more job is required of him that involves a group of dangerous criminals (Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Eiza González) who care far more about their money than they do his love life and his future aspirations.
As I said, Baby Driver is a good source of entertainment that’s easy to appreciate right from the very beginning. Simply based on what it’s about and much of what it was promising on the surface, that doesn’t come as much of a shock to me. However, as much as I liked it, I believe this could have very well been something that was easy to love. For me, this turns into a bit of a bummer since the potential to be great is clearly there and somehow missed out on.
You know ahead of time, that the music would play a large part of Baby Driver. What you may not know is that the music is also a large part of the main character’s personality. Based on what we actually see of him, this basically represents his personality as a whole. Looking at what we do know of him, he appears to be a normal dude who happens to be caught in a difficult situation. And with the exception of the musical aspect, the same can be said of Debora, his love interest. She’s a very plain character who doesn’t truly stand out.
I think making these two the focal point prevents this from being the all out entertaining affair that it should have been. As it turns out, some of the best parts of this come in the form of the characters that are surrounding “Baby.” These guys add life to the film while also showing that they should have been given more time in front of the camera. This would have allowed us to get to know them a little more while also providing more value for viewers since they are the most interesting people in the entire picture.
One of the ways you fix Baby Driver without adding to the run time would be to reduce the significance of the love story at the center of everything. The love between Baby and Debora is used to drive what we see here, but it isn’t the kind of thing that should carry something like this. As I said, their characters are on the bland side of things and are outshined in a story that contains a number of psychopaths. Being around people like these two “lovebirds” in real life would be perfectly fine, but in a movie like this, we don’t really want to have these characters at the center of everything.
By giving us more of the other guys, we’re immediately getting more personality than “Baby” delivers on his own. You’re also providing audiences with more chaos and a more constant sense of danger since these guys aren’t exactly what anyone would consider friendly. Based on this simple yet complicated alteration, Baby Driver could have been fantastic as it would have been able to add to some stuff that clearly had more room for growth while also taking the excitement and comedy to another level.
Aside from the people who are helping Ansel Elgort out on-screen, what makes this movie work is the music and the overall style that’s plastered all over the place. From the outset, there’s music being played that can get you prepared for the wild ride that you are looking to experience. This is certainly the most well executed part of Baby Driver, and it will likely get you engaged to some degree.
You can ignore some of the flaws that are seen here like the ever-changing scars and tattoos that are shown throughout the movie. You can even forgive some of the logical issues that pop up in certain instances. All of the positives make that easy. However, there’s a part of me that can’t ignore the fact that there was an absolutely fantastic movie in there somewhere that wasn’t able to get made. Instead of getting that, we get something that’s enjoyable enough to watch multiple times. This obviously isn’t a negative, but this could have exceeded that.
Director: Edgar Wright
Film Length: 113 minutes
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Distributor: TriStar Pictures
- Score - 6.5/106.5/10