Baby Driver15¦ Blu-ray, DVD
Timing. It's pretty much the key element to Edgar Wright's latest cinematic offering. Unfortunately for the film's home entertainment release, the timing couldn't be worse. You see, one of the stars of the film is Kevin Spacey. Oh dear.
Now it's easy to boycott the film, although it seems unfair that the film and all the rest of the cast and crew would have to suffer as a result. Parking this issue aside, as it were, the film then should be judged on its own merits as a whole. So let's proceed: mirror, signal and manoeuvre.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young man who likes to drive. He's pretty good at it too, which is why he makes an excellent getaway driver. It's not a career path he would have necessarily chosen, but after stealing a car from his now boss Doc (Spacey), he pays off the debt owed to him in doing heist jobs.
As a child, he was left with tinnitus after a tragic car accident; to compensate for the disturbance, he constantly listens to music on various iPods to block out the unwanted noise, particularly on the job when he has specific playlists to help him out.
Most of the jobs he's been involved with go to plan, but when he has to do a job with a crew he doesn't know, particularly with a guy called Bats (Jamie Foxx) - who takes an instant dislike to him - a heist takes a definite wrong turn.
It's been four years since Wright's last filmic adventure (with the disappointing end to the Cornetto trilogy The World's End) so it was always going to be interesting what he came back with. Baby Driver then is the perfect vehicle, offering as it does a unique marriage of music and motion.
Wright's film is always on the move, rarely stopping to catch its breath. But it doesn't just move for the sake of it, it has its own rhythm that it follows, which is cleverly punctuated with its soundtrack. When the two are synced together, it's like cinematic ballet, making it a wholly joyous experience. Wright is clearly a fan and student of film, and it shows. it's a shame then that the film misses a bit or two in other crucial areas.
The main one has to be levelled at the lead Elgort; his performance is about as 2D as it gets, perhaps it's been flattened by one of the cars in the film. It's as if Wright uses him more as a prop in the film, rather than an actual character, moving him from one scene to the next. The director does a better job with Foxx, Jon Hamm and Lily James, who shines brightly as the love interest.
And despite having many set pieces - none of which sadly truly make jaws drop - the script, as snappy as it may be in places, is completely devoid of humour, which the film sorely misses.
Overall Baby Driver is a curious experiment in mainstream film, that Wright doesn't completely manage to pull off. It's no doubt a spectacle, but not necessarily the fun ride we were hoping for.