Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver finally came screeching into cinemas this week, set to what is arguably one of the greatest soundtracks in recent years and featuring a superb cast made up of the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Ansel Elgort.
Our Kambole hailed the film as Wright’s “most efficient work to date. It’s thrilling filmmaking, a total blast, and rarely misses a beat.” Now out in cinemas, the wider ORWAV team have gathered together their thoughts on this much-anticipated film.
Carmen – 4/5
With an all-star cast on top form and a fail-proof premise, Edgar Wright’s latest effort delights and excites. The film sports an eclectic, excellent mixtape score, one which pulses through every shot. The alternating levity and tension these songs add is heightened by its in-universe explanation, most notably effective and entertaining when Baby (a surprisingly good Ansel Elgort) and Buddy (an unsurprisingly first-rate Jon Hamm) intervene to set the scene’s soundtrack.
While suffering from a lack of developed female characters and pacing not as tight as Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver is undeniably cool – an adrenaline-fuelled drama which never drops the stakes and maintains Wright’s trademark wit.
Joni – 4/5
With the tenacious fervour of an excited puppy, Baby Driver skids and slides all over the place as it races into the best movies of 2017. The characters are a little thin, the central romance underdeveloped – but the thumping rhythm and crackling energy make this madcap road race irresistible.
As a playlist, Baby Driver easily takes first place – but like Wright’s other work, it suffers from a lack of meaningful female characters. Lily James is underserved as the waifish Debora, and I can’t be alone in wishing she’d taken the lead role instead.
Louise – 4/5
Unbelievably stylish and perfectly paced, Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is potentially the coolest film offering of 2017. The soundtrack reaches Tarantino levels of brilliance, emphasizing Wright’s unique, fast-paced style and lifting the film to a whole other level.
Ansel Elgort is a wonderful surprise as the lead and Kevin Spacey is truly at his best here. The downside? The female characters may as well be cardboard cutouts, offering absolutely nothing to drive the plot and with the sole purpose of satisfying the male characters’ needs. This is the biggest disappointment of what could’ve been an almost perfect film.
David – 4/5
Let’s get one thing straight here: Baby Driver is a good film. No doubt about it. In a summer of dirge, where franchises are rinsing and removing their once bright life to form a cloud of ugly, fading grey, Edgar Wright’s latest is a breath of toe-tapping, adrenaline-pumping fun.
Yet the hype must be capped. You’ll have a good time – but there are flaws. The middle, the very end, and the female characters are all sore spots. We can’t just blindly ignore these points and say it’s faultless because it’s new. It’s a blast, but it ain’t perfect.
Phil – 5/5
By the end of that glorious opening car chase, perfectly choreographed to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Baby Driver was unquestionably the best film I have seen all year. I’ve heard comparisons to musicals, but what Edgar Wright has created is more akin to ballet on speed. And even when Baby isn’t behind the wheel, the amazing cast and a script that’s firing on all cylinders keep the film barrelling along at top speed.
The idea for Baby Driver has been brewing in Wright’s brain since the start of his career, but the finished result is the work of a director at the top of his game.
Stephanie – 3/5
On paper, I should have absolutely loved Baby Driver – an Edgar Wright-led, fast-paced car thriller set to music and with a big cast. However, the film never truly felt like it got out of first gear, although the gunfights set in time to music (‘Hocus Pocus’ is a highlight), and some of the stunts, were admittedly cool. I hate to be another person complaining about lack of female characters, but the two women felt wasted in terms of writing, and this cut a hole out of my enjoyment and left me feeling a bit like I was watching a teenage boy’s fantasy. Sorry Edgar, it just missed the mark for me this time!
Eddie – 3/5
Baby Driver wants to be the coolest kid on the block. But, as anyone who has ever admired the cool kids knows, cool kids don’t try to be cool, they just are. Despite Wright’s confident direction and starry cast, the film is paper-thin, and hampered by a by-the-book script and one-dimensional characters. Even if the “dead mum gifts music” ploy is ripped straight from Guardians of the Galaxy and the plot is essentially Walter Hill’s The Driver on steroids, the action thumps to the beats of a cool soundtrack. You’ll enjoy yourself, but you won’t take it with you.
Jessamy – 4/5
From the moment the clutch floors in Baby Driver, you’re in for the ride. The chases are next-level swish choreography, and the music choices perfect. While clichés or heavy-handed character-plotting would stack up the negative points like a five-car pileup in most films, in Baby Driver such transgressions barely register, thanks to its slick pace and stellar cast.
Spacey is unsurprisingly excellent, but it’s Ansel Elgort as the convincingly sharp but stoic Baby who makes the film so engaging. Baby Driver shines best when knocking out offbeat jokes throughout the first half, and maybe this is Wright’s forté, as the emotional punches of the climax don’t quite hit home, but it’s gratifying fun nonetheless.
Christopher – 4/5
Baby Driver’s reputation now precedes it, and that might be a problem. Film-Twitter has been quick to rally behind it, with proclamations of “film of the year!”, sent to save us from cinematic sins, a much-needed burst of originality. Except originality is a loaded term, and Baby Driver is as original as a Tarantino effort – which nearly always translates as “same but different”.
Ultimately, Baby Driver is only a pretty good film made by an excellent director: thrilling, but so shiny it might just be blinding us from seeing its cracks, the largest of which includes a remarkably awful finale – so bad it is enough to bust at least one tyre upon its furious body.