Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

Baby Driver


Baby Driver 01.07.17

The reviews have been effusive (97% on Rotten Tomatoes), yet what to make of a film whose ending seems to have been directed by Roland Emmerich? But I'm getting ahead of myself, especially when there's the beginning to discuss, with its similarity to Spiderman 3.

Baby Driver has, let's be clear, received five-star reviews from journals as reputable as The Guardian. There is much, in fact, that is brilliant about this slick and streetwise film, of a youthful twenty-something who acts as the getaway driver for a crime kingpin. His talent at the wheel is near supernatural, a Leon-like figure affected and repressed by a childhood trauma who seems unable to connect with people – is indeed, only himself when wired up to the music of his Apple iplayer or when driving the car. Our introduction to him is only slightly hampered at the outset in a street-walking scene where the driver jive-walks to the music on his iplayer, all a bit too smooth, and I thought about Toby Maguire and that scene that helped kill Spiderman 3.

Regardless, the protagonist who starts out as a socially awkward post-teen turns into something else, most strikingly when he falls in love with a likeable waitress. The romantic exchanges are tender and winning, though they are also sharply delivered, unerringly so for a figure who seemed previously so unable to articulate himself almost at all. I found this shift in gears, from driver-savant to precocious Romeo, unconvincing.

Still, the love story is likeable and it draws you in. What ruins this film is the final quarter with the heist gone wrong, when one of the bank robbers decides to dedicate himself to revenge against the driver. How many times does the robber get shot? Twice, perhaps? Three times? And yet he comes back every time to avenge himself; at one point, in a multi-story carpark, the young driver's plan has the robber's car smashed over the edge to crash several stories below. The driver goes to view the wreckage below. Moments later, a gun is cocked at his head. How did the gun-shot robber extricate himself from the falling car, then reappear behind the young driver within the broad open space of a car park without being seen? This was cartoon violence, of non-stop 'twists' where gun shots fail to effectively maim and people keep getting up, to appear again from behind some pillar. Like a battle between immortal superheroes, the death of a vanquished foe becomes meaningless, as you wait for them to re-emerge, until at some point, they finally don't.

Baby Driver, then, is a slick action film with brilliant stunts and memorable moments, a sandwich with a tremendous filling held together by shitty bread either side. The established cast, with Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, and Mad Men's Jon Hamm bring intensity and charisma, while the romance between Ansel Elgort and Lily James is cute to behold. It feels, though, like a film ruined by Hollywood committee, which tries to squeeze in too many final moments of a nemesis returned from the dead, while the logic of a psychologically troubled boy-genius who can suddenly switch to cool dialogue is just a bit too much coolness. Watch this film and be entertained, it will certainly do that, but it doesn't hold together as anything more.
Spiderman: Homecoming


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Thursday, 06 August 2020

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

​ On 11 June, The Scotsman published a deeply hostile article against transgender rights and activism in an opinion piece about the JK Rowling furore by its deputy political editor Gina Davidson. After much distress, I wrote a counter article which The Scotsman quietly ignored, after they had offered to pass it on to their Comment Editor. I experie...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...
November 10, 2019

General Election

General Election 12 December 2019 I spent the last election in an office, alone but for the company of a colleague. We watched the BBC's coverage while I drank wine, downbeat and expecting austerity and the absence of hope to triumph. Then we saw the exit poll and hung around, disbelieving at the sight of the kindled embers and lukewarm glow of a f...
October 05, 2019


October 05, 2019


Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...