By Liam Grogan
When debating who holds the title of “greatest director of all time,” I find that the same couple of names are always being thrown around. Any film major will practically trip over themselves to scream “HITCHCOCK!” “TARANTINO!” or, if they’re feeling adventurous, “SPIELBERG!”
And while I do love and respect all of these directors, I would include none of their names amongst my favorites of all time. They’re undeniably brilliant, but I also think that, at least in some ways, they’re from a different era of cinema. Movies — especially the big blockbusters — have dramatically changed over the past 30 years, and I believe the filmmakers we idolize should, too.
There’s one director who I think represents the very best of what the future of cinema will be: Edgar Wright.
The speakers who are the most interesting to listen to are the ones who speak with the most passion; there’s just something about watching someone talk about something that they truly care about that is so enthralling to watch. An Edgar Wright film is the cinematic version of this phenomenon. Yes, he cranks out big action blockbusters, but they’re big blockbusters shot in a way that nobody has ever done before or emulated since.
There’s an old rule of thumb that when writing dialogue, and it’s that you need to make every line essential and that not a single line should be expendable to the story. When you watch an Edgar Wright movie, it feels like the ultimate encapsulation of this rule, but with the camera shots instead of dialogue. It always feels like every shot is important. Each shot has been poured over and meticulously planned out to make it the best it possibly can be. And that’s something truly spectacular to watch on screen.
Directed by Wright, “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” is one of my favorite movies of all time, and one of the biggest reasons for that is how many details the director crams into every shot and action. Each time I watch the movie I notice something new and find another amazing aspect of it to appreciate. The visuals in the moment-to-moment interactions are shot with just as much energy as the action itself, making the movie really come alive.
Similarly, “Baby Driver” is another Wright movie that feels like it’s been poured over for countless hours. Every action in the movie is synchronized with the beat of the score, making for a visual and aural treat that never gets old … even dozens of viewings after another. I don’t even know how you could direct something like that on a set, but Wright does something that might not have even been possible 20 years ago.
And honestly, not enough people seem to love his work the way it deserves to be loved, so please, go watch “Shaun of the Dead” or “Hot Fuzz.” You can thank me later.