VOD Review: Baby Driver

Baby Driver

VOD Review: Baby Driver

Baby Driver is entertaining, with some enaging young stars. It just needed to keep it’s foot on the gas.

A film leaving you wanting more is usually a good thing. With Baby Driver, I got that feeling, but I can’t say that’s a good thing. There’s a lot to like about Edgar Wright’s stylish heist movie, but I wanted something even bolder. Something even crazier.

Baby Driver (2017)

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young man with a tragic past. Baby was in a crash that killed his parents and left him with Tinnitus (ringing in the ears). To sooth his ears, he plays music constantly. To sooth his heart, he drives really, really fast. His skill behind the wheel has made him the go-to driver for local crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey, in probably his last role).

Baby Driver
Our Hero, who spends the entire movie showing why he should have been cast as Han Solo.

When Baby falls for a local waitress named Debora (Lily James), he decides to get out of the game. But Doc doesn’t want to lose his best man, and other members of the crew are jealous of Baby’s preferred status. Getting out might take more than a fast car and a killer soundtrack.

Fresh Faces

Baby Driver
There’s no way this diner is that empty on any shift this girl is working.

Ansel Elgort and Lily James both have faces that light up a room. Put them together in a scene, and the dazzle on their smiles is blinding. While the love story between Baby and Debora is both cliche and thin, the two leads sell it: they’re both so attractive that mutual love at first sight doesn’t seem so far fetched. The magnetic asthetic the two command comes in super handy when the plot requires them to make some odd decisions. If you believe that these two are both crushing hard on each other, the back 9 of this movie is going to go down a whole lot smoother.

Ugly Mugs

Baby Driver
“Okay, here’s the plan: we’re going to center this job around a young man you morons can’t resist fucking with. Hope you look good in orange.”

The other buy-in that Baby Driver asks is an understanding that most of these villains are so stupid and petty that they would willingly blow up a good thing just to fuck with Baby. To its credit, early scenes get this conceit out early: these men are dumb lugs that have a bully’s fascination with this quiet savant. Once again, if you buy that Jaimie Foxx’s character can’t stop poking bears, things are going to go swimmingly.

Polished Grills

Baby Driver
Smooth Moves

That’s all well and good, but we were sold a fast cars/rocking tunes action fest. The first heist is just as advertised: high octane stunts choreographed impeccably around a chic soundtrack. It even flows well into a skit where Baby is rocking out to his tunes while grabbing coffee. Around when Debora shows up, however, the rhythm starts skipping. I know it would have been a colossal task to have the entire movie flow from choreographed piece to choreographed piece, but I sure as hell wanted it.

Baby Driver
To it’s credit, that first heist was real cute. Cute as a pail full of kittens.

Making a heist film memorable is difficult work. You need a hook. Baby Driver gets you on its hook early only to let you wriggle free about half way in. If this movie had achieved what it teased, it would have been something akin to Hardcore Henry or Birdman: a stunning, bold piece of cinematography. I would have been on cloud nine if noone had said a damn thing in this movie, and it was all shown from Baby’s point of view hearing.

Beautiful Baby?

Baby Driver
God, remember when you needed multiple devices to make sure you never said a word to another living being?

I liked this movie. But with a little more, I could have loved it. It’s a charmer, with a cast that throws you the keys to this world right off the bat. It checks off all the boxes of a standard heist movie, but adds it’s own sparkly-rhinestone flavor.

My problem with Baby Driver is that I saw a clear path to greatness. They had all the pieces in place to pull off magic, and came up just a trick or two shy of a showstopper. I hope someone sees this movie and goes for broke on a similar project. That’d be real cute.

“Cute as a Chinese Baby”

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