Baby Driver


Director: Edgar Wright.
Screenplay: Edgar Wright.
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Flea, Lanny Joon, CJ Jones, Sky Ferreira, Lance Palmer, Hudson Meek, Paul Williams, Hal Whiteside.

“The moment you catch feelings is the moment you catch a bullet”

With his “Cornetto trilogy” and Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Edgar Wright has amassed a fervent following. He’s a director that can seemingly do no wrong in many people’s eyes but this enthusiasm is one that I’ve often questioned. I don’t think that Wright has produced enough overall quality to be considered so highly in people’s estimations. Stylistically, he’s fantastic and there’s always an energy and a plethora of good ideas on display but I’ve always struggled with how much mileage he tries to squeeze out of his material and how he brings his stories to a close. Baby Driver, as enjoyable as it is, suffers a similar fate. 


Plot: Crime boss, Doc (Kevin Spacey) is a meticulous planner of robberies but the one Ace in his pack is getaway driver, Baby (Ansel Elgort). Baby has a partial hearing impairment but when he’s listening to music, there’s nothing he can’t do when maneuvering a vehicle. Baby doesn’t want this life anymore, though. All he wants is to spend time with his new girlfriend, Deborah (Lily James) but when she comes under threat, Baby is forced back into working with Doc and a crew of unstable thugs in order to break free for good.


There’s a lot of impressive ratings and reviews flying around for Baby Driver and they seem to be coming from very reputable critics into the bargain. I would love to feel invited to the party but for as much as Baby Driver is exciting and hugely enjoyable it has issues that prevent me from agreeing with the majority of overly positive buzz surrounding it. For a start, the film begins so enthusiastically that the rest of the film never quite matches its early promise.

Credit where it’s due, though, Wright has crafted a very clever take on the heist film and plays things out with a blend of La La Land‘s musical numbers and the stylish and exciting getaway scenes from Drive. It would seem that there’s certainly one thing Wright got wrong and that was his failure to cast Ryan Gosling. Throw his expertise into the mix and this could have achieved another half star. Jesting aside, if you don’t put Baby in the corner and just let him do his thing, there’s plenty to enjoy here. The eponymous Ansel Elgort is a more than able lead and he delivers a fine central performance where his reservation is complimented by his background in dancing. He’s abley surrounded with an impressive and colourful collection of support as well; Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx trying to outdo each other in the menacing stakes is a lot of fun in itself and it’s great to see them spearheaded by the reliable and infinitely watchable Kevin Spacey. There’s no denying that it’s a great cast but even they are overshadowed by the structure and panache of Wright’s approach. It’s his use of music that’s the biggest draw and Wright skillfully blends an abundance of classic tracks that seemlessly fit the action onscreen – he even times Baby’s movements to the beats of the particular song that plays at any given time. From this, it’s obvious that he’s done his homework on synchronising this whole thing together – with the occasional nod to the influence of Tarantino and how he incorporates music in his films.


The thing is… apparently Wright had been mulling this project over for two decades. With that in mind, I’d have thought that within that time he would have been able to iron out some flaws in his screenplay. I feel as if I’m being unfair on the film as it’s not my intention to overly criticise something that I found to be very lively and entertaining but I’m a bit taken aback that most critics seem to be glossing over the film’s problems. These are most apparent in the denouement where Wright seems to run out of ideas. Shootouts become preposterous and his villains become caricatures while the motivation and behaviour of Spacey’s character, in particular, changes so dramatically that you’re left wondering if you’ve missed something. There’s so denying that the film is a welcome breath of fresh air but it’s not groundbreaking in any sense and, again, fuels the fire that Edgar Wright endeavours often have. It’s a great idea and it’s delivered with aplomb but on a basic basis it’s nothing more than entertainment. This isn’t a bad thing per se, but it’s not revolutionary or likely to achieve any classic status.


Despite succumbing to formula, Edgar Wright does a good job of providing the thrills. It’s not perfect but I’d still goes as far to say that it’s his most accomplished endeavour. It’s snappy, it’s fast paced and it has an abundance of style. These attributes alone make it worthwhile.


Mark Walker

Trivia: In early 2017, director Edgar Wright tweeted “Meryl Streep’s in our movie!’ After he quickly deleted it, many people speculated whether or not Streep was in the film. While she doesn’t appear in the film itself, Streep does appear on a TV screen while Baby is flipping through channels in a clip from It’s Complicated.

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27 Responses to “Baby Driver”

  1. Nice review Mark. I liked Baby Driver with you, but I agree that it’s a flawed movie and certainly isn’t original. Although the plot is largely paint-by-the-numbers, I feel like it was Wright’s intent to put a colorful spin on the getaway driver genre, and the performances, music, and action was more than enough to get me on board.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, man. I got onboard too but the way the critics had been lavishing the praise, I still expected more. This thing was getting 5 star reviews from Empire & Mark Kermode among many others. It wasn’t a five star experience for me but still an enjoyable ride.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fair enough. I usually don’t like rating films, but I’d probably give it a 4 out of 5, which may be a bit generous. I actually caught Baby Driver a second time around a few months ago and still had a lot of fun, though the generic nature of the plot stood out even further.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I actually was considering a 4 star rating as I was really having fun with it but it went wildly off the rails towards the end. Like you say, purely generic and very OTT. What became of Jon Hamm and Spacey’s characters really baffled me. These just weren’t the same guys I had been watching earlier in the film.

        Liked by 1 person

      • For me, Hamm’s transition from being Baby’s friend to turning into the movie’s villain was actually the most refreshing part of the plot. His character was much more developed than Foxx’s, and Hamm is really quite good in the picture’s final act. Spacey’s actions may be less plausible but not too unbelievable for myself.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed both their performances and Hamm, in particular, was excellent but it just didn’t gel for me. It became like a grindhouse actioner at the end. Maybe that was Wrights intention but it didn’t work for me and it was around this point that I started tuning out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do have a problem with action movies ending with violent shoot outs, and I can’t argue that Baby Driver does anything to subvert that cliche. But it came across as something less politically icky than a movie from Michael Bay or Zach Snyder.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, agreed! As much as it kinda ruined my experience a little, I’m a lot more forgiving considering the style in which it was done. As I mention in the review, I don’t want to be unkind to the film as I can’t argue with the entertainment it provided.

        Liked by 1 person

      • On another note, did you see the trailer for Phantom Thread. I was admittedly initially taken off by it, it does look very different than any other PTA film. But I thought it was very good and I’m still very excited about it:

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s uncanny, Charles. I literally just stumbled across it 5mins ago. I don’t normally watch trailers but I did on this occasion for PTA’s sake. I agree! It looks very different from anything he’s done before. My initial reaction is that it’s not something that would interest me but it’s PTA and Day-Lewis. What could go wrong?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, it did take me off guard, and while the cinematography is gorgeous (would we ever expect less from PTA), the subject matter seems a little lighter compared to something like The Master or Boogie Nights. But I don’t think there’s any other film I’m looking toward more for the rest of the year than Phantom Thread.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like you’ve had the same initial reaction as me. What I reminded myself of was Scorsese. I didn’t fancy The Age of Innocence (again with DDL) but when I gave it time, it really hit the spot. Not normally my cup of tea but impressive nonetheless. I reckon PTA is out to prove that he can do a genre or period-piece here. I could be wrong but I still have confidence in him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • PTA has proven himself to be a versatile director thus far in his career, and I’m sure he’ll subvert the period piece genre in one way or another.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely! The fact that the miraculous DDL has chosen this to end his career in movies fills me with hope as well. He’ll want to go out on a good one and he certainly knows his stuff. This could be greatness!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good stuff my friend. You’re right, Wright certainly has a strong following. I’ve never gotten into him. I feel I’m missing something others see. I think that’s why I’ve yet to see this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally with you, bro. I feel I’m missing something too. I really don’t understand why Wright has so much of a fanbase. I do admit that he’s got some style but there’s always something lacking. That said, I would honestly say that I took more enjoyment from this film as I have any other of his. The ending is forgettable but, overall, not a bad flick at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good review. I love Wright’s movies but don’t take them too seriously. In films like Shaun of the Dead (which I adore) he showed well his comic talent and an ability to do a lot by using very little and be inventive. But sometimes a gimmick is just a gimmick. One critic that I’ve been following for years said that (oversimplifying) “Baby Driver seemed just like Wright was exercising in matching the video with the score and not much less”.

    But he is a talented guy. I like him, Nick Frost & Pegg. I was just expecting that he’ll become what is James Gunn now with his first really big movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A pleasure to see you returning so often, my good man. I thank you for it.

      I certainly don’t dislike Wright. I admire his style and his ability to do things a little differently. The Cornetto Trilogy have their moments of greatness but every one in the series runs out steam for me. I’d have to say the same for Scott Pilgrim. They’re all great ideas but don’t have the stamina to last as feature films. And I kinda felt the same for Baby Driver. I enjoyed it! I thought it was a very refreshing thrill ride but (again) it ran out of steam. That said, this is the most fun I’ve had with his films. Who knows? One day he might hit they high note with me as he seems to have with others. He’s a talented filmmaker.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I thought the ending could’ve had more, or at least the whole movie as a whole needed more of anything…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice review! 🙂 It’s not a perfect film but I enjoyed it quite a lot. I actually think this movie will stand the test of time well and be a cult classic years from now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I Enjoyed it myself and felt that I was being slightly unfair in my review. It definitely provides good entertainment but it was all the Five Star reviews that threw me off beforehand. I was expecting more form the film…. Now its even creepier that Kevin Spacey had a hold over a young man that work for him. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • True – I do hate movies with too much hype. It usually makes me not like them! Oh shit… I’d kind of forgotten Spacey was in it. Dammit! They need to stop all that pervy Hollywood behavior. I don’t want any of my favorite movies ruined because the stars suck in real life! 😐 Stupid rich people. We’ll end up only able to watch really old movies where all the stars are now dead & we’ll never find out about their real lives. Hmm.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! That’s exactly how I’m feeling. I was, admittedly, a huge Spacey fan. Now I can’t even look at him the same way. That said, I’m very happy to hear all the shit getting exposed. It’s about time!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review. Baby Driver had a lot of good ideas and individual moments, but at times it felt like the story just wasn’t meshing, as if Wright was a kid approaching a story with a lot of enthusiasm, but no way to put it together. The sudden and very-glazed-over ending is a big sign of this. Another was how it kinda just cycles through each villain, leaving you confused who Baby is going to end up facing in the end of it. That’s not even mentioning the bad Kevin Spacey face turn. (Side note: Watching him in this is now creepy.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, we seem to be on the same page here. I enjoyed it but it didn’t quite come together. The ending was very weak and nearly undone all the good that went before it. Agreed on Spacey as well. It’s hard to look at him the same way now. American Beauty is even more close to the bone. It now looks like he got an oscar for, essentially, playing himself.

      Thanks for dropping in my friend. Always nice to hear new voices. 🙂

      Like

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