As creatives, it’s important to watch movies. They are our education on what to do and what not to do. Baby Driver is an excellent example of both.
To be honest, I hadn’t heard much about the film before I found myself sitting in the cinema. Normally, that’s a good thing, it means I’ll probably love the movie much more than I would have if I went in with great expectations.
This was not the case for Baby Driver. I walked out feeling confused. On one hand, there were some great plot and character twists. It was innovative and fresh in its edit and the way it played with music. On the other hand, the story failed to draw me in and left me wondering why this was a story needing to be told.
Look at the basics of this story for a moment: It’s about a boy who gets caught up in the wrong world and then becomes just as bad as everyone else.
Why do we care about his story? I don’t. I felt depressed after. Maybe I’m a goody-two-shoes who just likes happy endings, but I think the question still begs an answer.
I was a huge fan of the Baby at the beginning of the film. He was quirky, sweet and somehow, he’d managed to remain pure and innocent even though he drove bad guys around. He went home and cared for his foster dad, he crushed on the girl at the local diner and he had a cool backstory and reason for why he wore headphones all the time. This helped the director and editor weave the edit around music.
Then he becomes a murderer, liar and thief because he doesn’t want to drive bad guys anymore. Ummmm do you see the hypocrisy?! Or is just me?
What made it worse, is when he does finally surrender and we have a quick montage of him serving time, while witnesses speak about his character in court, it made me feel like they were justifying every bad thing he did.
Insert Patrick Stewart facepalm meme here.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some beautiful moments too. Like the long shot over the opening credits. Ansel Elgort, who plays Baby, is walking and dancing through the street to the music from his iPod. It’s sweet. And as a filmmaker, I can appreciate the amount of work that went into this shot. Two thumbs up.
And the stunts were phenomenal. What made them even more impressive was how much was actually done on set versus CGI. Well done Edgar Wright. Again, I can appreciate how much effort it took to shoot and I applaud you.
Another thing I could appreciate was the innovative characters writer/director Wright created. Baby for sure, but the one I which impressed me the most was Kevin Spacey’s character, Doc.
At first, Doc looks like your typical bad guy boss dude, who doesn’t give a crap about anyone, keeps all the money to himself and scares everyone half to death. Imagine my delighted surprise when he actually cares about Baby. I’m talking about the moment when Baby and Debora rock up to his door asking for help and he actually dies trying to give them a chance to flee.
Come on, who wouldn’t love this fresh take on the bad guy boss dude?
Still, overall, I’m bummed. I’ve really liked other films by Edgar Wright like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but even those feel like they have more substance than Baby Driver. Hot Fuzz made you feel like the average joe could be a hero and Shaun of the Dead gave us hope no matter what a friendship goes through, it can endure.
Whereas all I feel Baby Driver taught me, is if you make a move to do something with your life to get out of a bad situation, you’ll become the bad guy but don’t worry, no one will blame you.
Filmmakers, I still think you should watch this film, because you can learn from Wright’s mistakes in storytelling, and learn from his successes with the innovative stunts.