Most of Edgar Wright‘s Baby Driver (TriStar, 6.28) is inspired — one of the most strikingly conceived, purely enjoyable fast-car crime flicks I’ve ever seen. With Ansel Elgort as a Ryan Gosling-level getaway driver who needs the right kind of song playing in his ear buds in order to make it all come together, Baby Driver is essentially a kind of action musical — cray-cray car chases and ferocious gunplay synchronized with the sounds and vice versa. To some extent it reminded me of Drive, and at times of Thief, Gone In Sixty Seconds, Bullitt….that line of country.
The four or five car chases in the film are exhilarating nutso stuff, but at the same time the action is undisciplined and show-offy and actually quite mad — Wright going for the gusto without regard to probability or (that horrid word) reality, but at the same time delivering the best squealing-rubber thrills since Gosling and Nicholas Winding Refn pooled forces, and absolutely leaving the bullshit fantasy realm of the Furious franchise in the dust.
But then Wright decides to send Baby Driver flying off the freeway around…oh, the 90-minute mark. And the last 15 or so minutes are flat-out insane and then infuriating. I was sitting there with my face contorted as I silently screamed, “What the fuck are you doing?…you fucking asshole! You really had something going there, but now you’re ruining the movie…you’re making it into some kind of bullshit Vin Diesel cum milkshake with a pop-fantasy ending made of dingleberries and drooling saliva. Why? Do you have a creative death wish?”
HE to director friend this morning: “I just saw Baby Driver last night….a wowser, near-great action musical for the first 80% or 85% followed by a ridiculously absurd, overly violent, catastrophically stupid finale that all but destroys the current and the vibe. A friend said ‘the wheels come off at the end‘ but they come off because Wright got under the car and loosened the lug nuts. Rarely have I seen a popcorn film as inspired and well-made as Baby Driver just blow itself up and shatter into pieces at the very end…a shame and a tragedy.”
I am nonetheless recommending Baby Driver for those first 90 or so minutes. But at the same time I’m telling you that any critic who’s written a gushing pass without mentioning that it destroys itself over the last 15 minutes or so…anyone who ignores this DEAD OBVIOUS FACT is a lying, jizz-whizzing whore who can never be fully trusted ever again.