I finally got around to seeing Baby Driver today.
I’d heard only good things about it. No, that’s an understatement. I’d heard only exceptional, exhilarating, things about it. Literally everyone I know who has seen it has said that either 1) it’s their favourite film of 2017 so far or 2) it was so good they went to see it a second time in the space of a week.
Did I really enjoy Baby Driver? Yes.
Would I endlessly preach about it? No.
Because once again I find myself with the same problems with Edgar Wright films, that I always do.
Overall, I want to love his films with every bit of me. And stylistically I do. I love the quirkiness, the characters and he always uses great music. I adore his soundtracks, and Baby Driver has one of the best soundtracks of any film, ever. In fact, I’d been listening to the soundtrack, on loop, for a full two weeks before seeing the film. It’s that good.
However no matter how stylish, cool, slick and littered with amazing songs the film is, I have the pretty much exactly same critiques as I did as soon as when I got out of Hot Fuzz, World’s End and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World:
1. It’s half an hour too long. It’s true that this is a complaint I have of 50% of films I see, but there’s just never enough story to justify two hours. If I can can get up and go to the bathroom, and return five minutes later, and it’s still the same dialogue scene, and I’ve missed precisely nothing, then it’s too long
2. The characters and their everyday problems is where his work is strongest in my opinion – not the action. However Wright really really really loves action. But the part of all of his films that draw me in and make me love them are the stories of the weirdos and socially awkward. However by half way through the film, the action sequences take over and become the sole focus of the film. In World’s End, I loved the story of the group of friends, and that feeling and struggle of having grown apart and life moving on. It was real, poignant, funny and heartwarming. But somehow it became an action about killer robots. What???
3. This is specific to Baby Driver – everyone says it was a musical. It’s not. It’s a film that was music heavy, and loves music. But apart from the opening sequence, as Baby walks the street (which I loved) it was not a musical. Stop trying to make the musical ‘cool’ – if you want to be a musical, just do it. Now Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm singing soul classics, that would have got my adoration – they have it in them
But you know, my favourite genre of film are dialogue heavy, centred around oddballs, and not a lot really happens, so I know that I am not the best to judge an action film.
I’d have just liked more of Baby dancing around to the music. I’d like Wright to be more Wes Anderson, and less Michael Bay.
And so I’m going to end on what might be three very controversial words:
I preferred Drive.