Driver strives too hard to be cool
Baby Driver doesn’t have that getout and the on-screen mix quickly shatters our credulity and goodwill.
An obvious comparison might be True Romance. But that film was based around a couple of credibly tough and damaged kids. Nothing in Elgort’s performance as Baby hints at any real steel in his spine. And while Debora never gets to do much at all but hang around waiting for Baby to call, True Romance’s Alabama (Patricia Arquette) fought mafia thug James Gandolfini to the death armed with nothing more than a dunny lid, a can of hairspray and a corkscrew. The comparison is kinda damning.
Wright is getting a lot of praise for staging the car chases with actual cars and stunt drivers. And that’s fair enough. After the mutilated pixels-as-cars of the
Fast and Furious franchise, it is refreshing to see real metal on screen.
But the chases never achieve anything like the visceral grit and threat of a French Connection, Bullit, Ronin. I walked into Baby Driver wanting, maybe even expecting, to see a film that – like everything else Wright has made – would be the stuff of a future cult. What I got was a film that was trying way too hard to be cool. And as everybody knows, there’s nothing less cool than that. – Graeme Tuckett