Baby Drives Fast And Loose
Review by Aaron Haughton
There are a number of bold tags being tossed out about this film. That it's taken musicals to a whole new level, being described as La-La-Land with car chases. That it's the greatest car chase film ever made, so much so that there should never be another car chase in any film ever again because Edgar Wright had nailed it so perfectly with this one. That it's this year's Fury Road. That it's the best film we've gotten so far this year.
Geez, that's an awful lot of hype... I was intrigued by these bold claims. Though, I have to admit, I wasn't too gassed up and revved to go see Baby Driver right out the gate. No, the first trailer didn't get me going. There was just something about it that didn't feel like an Edgar Wright film, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Maybe I just wanted another Pegg/Frost team up, another bite from the 'ole Cornetto... Then, all this praise on high was showering down, all these bold claims and high grades. But...could it be true? Could it be true?
The truth is that it's not a musical, nor has it revitalized the musical in any way. Aside from the opening scene where Baby (Ansel Elgort) is getting coffee, does the film ever come close to being a musical. It is, however, rooted in music, edited to music, and narratively driven by music. But, that does not by definition make it a musical.
It's not an overt car chase film either, nor is it the end-all-be-all of car chase films. It has a handful of car chases, sure, some of which are quite stunning, but never quite as impressive as the opening chase. The opening chase riffs upon the choreography included in the Mint Royale music video Wright shot for "Blue Song," before breaking into the what the video doesn't include: a badass, balls-to-the-wall car chase:
As for the Fury Road comment, of course it's not Fury Road. It took George Miller 30 years to get the level of Fury Road, so let's not presume Wright can make a a handful of films and reach the same level.
And, to answer the "best film of the year claim":
In my eyes, Baby Driver is not the best film thus far this year, and is in no way deserved of the plethora of 5 star ratings that have showered upon it. Which, that's not to say Baby Driver is a terrible film because that couldn't be farther from the truth -- it's a solid film, just not one that would land in my top five for the year. And, after watching Ana Lily Amirpour's 2 hour shite music video, The Bad Batch, I'd take Wright's Baby Driver any day.
Essentially, the film is a story we've all been told a thousand times over -- a heist film with a romance, a film where the character wants out, but getting out ain't easy, and falling in love makes the getting out infinitely harder. The only difference is that Wright has enough sense to tell the tale in a nuanced sorta way.
As for the fear of Baby Driver not feeling like an Edgar Wright film, it is his in every way. The sequences and editing are tight, antiquated and precise. The quick, fresh British wit is still present, but a little sparse here, far and few between. It's a massive amount of energizing fun, but just lacks the depth and underlying pathos that makes Wright's Cornetto films sparkle. At the end of the day, Baby Driver is a film riddled with too many cliches to be classic or definitive by any stretch of the imagination.
I would still encourage all of you to start your engines and buckle thine seat belts for this blockbuster, but just be prepared for a cliched speed bump or two, some flat dialogue (especially w/r/t romance aspect), some jokes that'll have you roaring, and, of course, an exhilarating chase or three.
Rating: 3.5 red Subarus outta 5.
What do you think? Did you love it? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and, as always, remember to viddy well!