Features and Columns · Movies

How Edgar Wright Foregrounds Sound

*furious whip-pan noises*
Scott Pilgrim
Universal Pictures
By  · Published on September 11th, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that explores the sound of Edgar Wright movies.

Sight, sound, bare minimum: this is what makes a movie.

And yet, few filmmakers utilize the two with equal reverence. Sound is, more often than not, a post-production after-thought. An element, rather than a driving force of worldbuilding, authenticity, and narrative. You need that car’s wheels to screech. You need the sound of a pen scratching on paper. But never in a way that is meant to stand out to the audience. In movies, sound– ironically enough — is often meant to be heard, but not noticed.

Enter Edgar Wright who, arguably, more than any other living director, has pushed the auditory experience of film front and center. In Wright’s films (including Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Baby Driver), music and sound effects are foregrounded with visuals to achieve everything from cheeky editing wipes and character introductions to cartoonishly intrusive physical comedy. Sound punctuates camera movement in an Edgar Wright film. It makes jokes. It reveals character flaws. The notion of the “music video director” has become somewhat pejorative. But Wright stands as a bold exception: a director who prioritizes intricate, dense, and (most importantly) fun sound mixes.

Watch “How Edgar Wright Uses Sound“:

Who made this?

This video essay comes courtesy of The Discarded Image, a video series created by Julian Palmer that deconstructs film. The series began with a deconstruction of how Steven Spielberg creates suspense with the beach scene in Jaws and has steadily grown from there. You can check out The Discarded Image’s video essays here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).