Does Baby Driver Live Up to the Hype?

In an industry abounding with repetitive sequels and generic copies, Edgar Wright’s summer 2017 film, Baby Driver, manages to stand out due to its unexpected premise and positive hype. A young driver, named Baby, constantly listens to music to drown out the noise caused by his hearing impairment. He works for a crime boss named Doc, played by Kevin Spacey, as a getaway driver during criminal heists to pay off a debt, but then he falls in love with a girl who could change everything. Sometimes, you just need a film to simply keep you entertained for about an hour and a half and Baby Driver does just that.

The film’s opening car chase is one of its best scenes, driving audiences to the edge of their seats with the impossible reality of it all. Unlike the more popular films of the Fast and the Furious franchise, Baby Driver attempts to push for realism with its stunts and tricks while remaining capable of eliciting a gasp from its audience. The performance of Ansel Elgort as Baby is enigmatic and unbearably charming. Yet, the true star of the film is the soundtrack which features an eclectic mix of nostalgic hits of the 60s, 70s, 80s and today from artists like Queen, Beck, Barry White, the Beach Boys, Bob & Earl, and R.E.M. to name a few.

Where Baby Driver flounders, however, is in its failure to push the boundaries. It centers on realism, but sometimes relies on the same implausible stunts of the films it attempts to pull away from. The characters, like Jamie Foxx’s Bats and Jon Hamm’s Buddy, are underdeveloped and bad for the sake of being bad. I’m not asking for a long winded back story, but I feel that Wright made the common mistake of telling rather than showing with the constant talk of how skilled and terrifying the villains are and the failure to prove it. Meanwhile, Lily James’ Deborah is like vanilla next to Baby’s rocky road; their love for one another is instant and their connection is never quite explained on screen. Edgar Wright has a history of directing genre-bending cult classics such as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz and his desire to do so again with Baby Driver is palpable, but sadly falls short. Overall, it is an easily enjoyable, yet forgettable film.

Baby Driver is a result of the affixation of a generation of moviegoers for movies like Twilight and The Fast and the Furious – of this need to fill the movie screen with a tragic love story and show-stopping action. In the lineup of summer films this year, Baby Driver is worth the ticket price. Just don’t expect anything deeper than a fun ride with some good laughs and catchy music.

Kimberly Morles is a Junior at FIU majoring in English. She is pursuing a certificate in Exile and Film Studies.