By: Kell Bernardo
Baby Driver is an action film directed by Edgar Wright about a getaway driver who uses music to drown out the ringing from tinnitus. He aims to get out of his criminal activities by paying off his debts, but his new romance might come into the crosshair of his daily life. The film stars Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Eiza Gonzalez, and John Hamm. I honestly was really stoked to see this film because Edgar Wright has done Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, Shawn of the Dead, and The World’s End. However, what I thought was going to be a fun and stylish action film just ended up to be a lack luster music video.
First and foremost I’ll address the soundtrack. The fact that Baby uses music to not hear the effects of his tinnitus is just a plot device to allow for more diegetic sound in the film. Diegetic sounds are things that can actually be heard within the world of the film such as dialogue. The soundtrack is kinda subpar and didn’t really engage me in the same way other music heavy films have. The best song in the film is a Run the Jewels track, but it’s short-lived because it’s only played for a couple of seconds If you’re going to make a film that’s reliant on the soundtrack, even going as far to make it almost another character in the film, it has to be engaging. Other films like Guardians of the Galaxy do this much better by having a fun, and catchy soundtrack to ground itself while showing the audience fantastical imagery.
The characters aren’t particularly interesting or likeable. I mean you don’t hate Ansel Elgort’s character, he takes care of his deaf and aging foster dad, and even spends a good chunk of the film lip syncing to music. But other than those charming moments in the beginning of the film, Baby’s character is kinda bland. He’s a nice guy stuck in a bad position. He’s a boy scout. He’s Superman. Lily Jame’s character is just a love interest who happens to also love music almost as much Baby does. Kevin Spacey is always fun to watch, he’s Kevin Spacey. Dude has a masterclass on acting. Jamie Foxx’s character is believable but again Jamie Foxx doesn’t have much to work with in terms of the writing. John Hamm’s character is likeable enough in the beginning and is nice to Baby, until he isn’t. Yeah. That’s basically it. Oh and Eiza Gonzales kisses John Hamm a lot.
The cinematography isn’t as stylish as some of Edgar Wright’s other films. Scott Pilgrim was more fun, and fast paced by comparison. There is one cool transition where the spinning of the laundry match cuts to a spinning of vinyl record. However, the quick cuts seen in Shawn of the Dead and The World’s End are basically nonexistent in this film. It’s almost as if Edgar Wright didn’t direct. If I hadn’t known, I would have just thought it could have been another director that hasn’t yet acquired a specific style or voice. It was paint by the numbers plot that wasn’t given any flair by a director that was more than capable to have put a fresh spin on it.
I give Baby Driver a 3 out of 5 stars.
Or, alternatively, ordering a coke at a restaurant and the waiter tells you, “Is Pepsi okay?”