To say I’m an Edgar Wright fan would be a bit of an understatement… in fact, if you love movies and movie culture, loving Edgar Wright is a bit of a cliché. But honestly, I don’t think the man has directed a bad movie, and Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World are two of my favorite comedies of all time.
So when I heard about some movie called “Baby Driver” directed by him, I didn’t care what it was about; I was gonna see it opening night.
Baby Driver is definitely a delightful movie, and I really enjoyed watching it. Is it among Wright’s best works? No, and I’ll get to why in a minute, but honestly, I’d rather talk about the positives first.
The movie utilizes some of Edgar Wright’s signature moves with absolute finesse. He’s been known to not only pick great soundtracks, but he frequently makes the action beats sync up with beats of the songs being played, creating an effortless stream of comedy and a steady flow for the entire plot.
Baby Driver kicks this signature move into full gear. The soundtrack is honestly its own character in the movie because every song that I can think of in the film’s soundtrack is something that Baby’s listening to. Not only that, but the music choice is so diverse that it never creates any sort of staleness.
Despite the fact that some of the car stunts that Baby pulls are ridiculously complex, there was never a point in time where I felt like I had to seriously suspend my disbelief to believe someone could actually pull that off.
The humor in this movie is rather fantastic, and Wright somehow manages to create some extremely tense scenes.
Much of this tension has to do with Jamie Foxx‘s character, who probably pulls one of the most uncomfortable performances I have ever seen him do (I say this as a good thing). There’s some extremely suspenseful parts to the movie, and it never detracts or clashes with the action scenes or comedy scenes.
The dialogue was really great when it wasn’t being extremely expository. Take that what ever way you’d like.
All the characters, from Jon Hamm to Kevin Spacey to Lily James, are good. There’s unfortunately no performance that blew me away, but there was also never a moment where I didn’t like a character on the screen. Every character has some sort of quirkiness to them, and it really added to the comedy aspect of this movie.
Now I said before that Baby Driver is not among Wright’s best works… and that’s because there’s a few problems I have with this film. I feel bad for pointing them out because I love Edgar Wright, and I really enjoyed this movie, but if these problems were in ANY other film, I’d call them out in a heartbeat, so here I go…
So although Ansel Elgort is good in his role of Baby, he was undoubtedly one of the weakest performances in the entire film. There were a few times where his line delivery seemed incredibly off to me, and part of me wants to blame that on his character, but the truth his that Baby isn’t that deep of a character anyway. It was easy for me to understand him, but there were some moments where I had a hard time sympathizing with him… and I cannot find any other reason for why this is except for Elgort’s performance.
This is also the most flashback-reliant and expository movie of Edgar Wright’s films as well. Lily James basically starts out as Madam Exposition in her first couple of scenes, and I once again feel compelled to blame it on her character, and not necessarily the script… and I can understand if people want to take that route… but again, if this were any other movie, I wouldn’t be this lenient.
Speaking of Lily James, I found the romance between Deborah and Baby to be underdeveloped.
But of all the weak elements in this movie, the last twenty minutes or so are by far the weakest. There were a few “surprise” moments that were so freaking obvious that it baffles me to think that Edgar Wright actually expected people to not see these things coming from a mile away.
It also made Kevin Spacey’s character’s motivations extremely confusing. I mean the movie spent all this time making Spacey out to be this terrible man, a man who was willing to blackmail Baby back into a life of crime, and then when Baby intentionally screws up his plan to rob a Post Office, he then comes back to Kevin Spacey’s hideout, and Spacey all but roles out the red carpet for him and does him all of these favors. Why? Because he thought Baby and Deborah made a cute couple. It felt really dumb and cheap… and again, if this were any other movie made by any other director, I wouldn’t be as lenient.
With all that said, even though there are problems, none of them stopped Baby Driver from being a thrilling, exciting, and funny movie. As a film in general, I thought it was great. As an Edgar Wright film, I thought it was good.
If I had to put his movies in order, it would go
Shaun of the Dead,
and then The World’s End (and I’d honestly have to watch The World’s End again to know for sure if it falls behind Baby Driver).
There’s definitely a lot of stuff in this film to enjoy, and I’m honestly looking forward to seeing it again, but guys, I have to be honest about the stuff I didn’t like in the film. Perhaps the next time I see it, I will like it even more.
If you wanted someone who was gonna fanboy about this movie, there’s hundreds of amateur reviewers you can go to who will gush about it without a hint of objectivity, but I cannot do that in good conscience.