Edgar Wright and the Art of Visual Comedy

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I first heard the name Edgar Wright when Shawn of the Dead came out back in 2004. I remember thinking, there is something very dynamic about this film even though I can’t put my finger on it. Since then, Wright has put out one quality film after another and evolved to the point that his films can now be seen as a masterclass in film directing.


What makes Wright’s movies so dynamic is the way he uses framing to tell his story. In Tony Zhou’s video essay, he points out that, while most modern comic directors shy away from extreme jump cuts and ultra stylized sequences, Wright embraces the use framing not only as a comic device, but as a clever means to tell his story in a unique and entertaining way.


One example that comes to mind can be found in The World’s End with the repetition of beers being filled up. At the end of each sequence, the rythm is broken by the sad little sound of a glass being filled up with water. In this moment, we understand what is going on. Each friend is marching into their night of drunken debauchery, except one poor sad sap who…gets a water.


This sequence eventually pays off when finally, when we expect Nick Frost is going to get another water, he finally gets a beer. Game On!If you haven’t watched Tony Zhou’s videos on Vimeo, you’re truly missing out. I have picked some of my favorites here below as well as some of Zhou’s own comments.


Here are a few more videos from Tony Zhou. Each one is a masterclass in filmmaking.

Twitter: twitter.com/tonyszhou
Facebook: facebook.com/everyframeapainting

More of Tony Zhou’s recomendations:

For further reading/viewing, I highly recommend
David Bordwell’s essay on funny framings: davidbordwell.net/blog/2007/04/30/funny-framings/
And David Chen’s video essay on Wright’s use of close-ups: vimeo.com/8531131


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