Reviews: Baby Driver

Radar Love

Baby Driver is an exceptionally good film in a way that's easy to pin down. It's like if Scott Pilgrim was The Transporter. It's like if all of the coolest bits of the Devil May Cry games were car chases. It is, above all else, perhaps even the very definition of the following word; stylish. But don't think for one second that it's style over substance.

Baby Driver has plenty of substance, it just happens to synchronize very well with the style. As in, almost every scene in the film literally synchronizes up with the soundtrack, which contains music from the likes of Queen, The Beach Boys, T. Rex, Blur, Golden Earring, Focus (who really should have a Tropes page too by now), Danger Mouse, and the title tune by Simon & Garfunkel. You'd think that it might get a little cheesy having the music coincide with car chases, shoot-outs and coffee runs, but it never reaches that level, staying consistently entertaining throughout.

Baby Driver is the story of Baby, who is a Driver, so it's not exactly hard to follow. Baby is the token sympathetic member of a constantly-changing crime posse run by Kevin Spacey, with supporting roles by Jamie Foxx, Eiza González, and Jon Hamm, and to divulge anything else would probably be a spoiler. So trust me, it's good.

I especially like... oh boy, trying not to spoil here; I like that the film is quite unpredictable, and I understand that giving any examples of ways in which it is unpredictable will stop it from being unpredictable, but let's just say that the film keeps you guessing which of two characters is going to end up being the Big Bad, and the outcome is a surprise. And Kevin Spacey can flawlessly switch from Benevolent Boss to Bad Boss and back again so entertainingly that it's an art form.

There is one noticeable problem. The love interest, played by Lily James, Debora. Edgar Wright said that he first had the idea for this film twenty-three years ago, and Debora is definitely a love interest from that time period. She's not terrible, she just very clearly graduated from the school of being the romantic lead in a forgettable film from The '90s. She has a few sentences of backstory, no family or friends, or ambition, or personality really, and as far as I can tell, she works at a diner twenty-four hours a day, waiting for the main character of the film to walk in so that they can immediately and unconvincingly fall in love with each other in a matter of days.

But even this is just a speed bump - I still liked Debora on the whole - and I like the film as a whole very, very much. It's a fast-paced adrenaline-fuelled brilliantly-executed and superbly-stylish action-comedy. It's what The Fast and the Furious films would be like if they were any good.

Scoot down the road, what's my number? 9/10. I wonder how your engines feel.