Edgar Wright (Britain, 1974) debuted with three glorious genre parodies, the Western
A Fistful of Fingers (1995), the horror Shaun of the Dead (2004)
and the police thriller Hot Fuzz (2007).
Shaun of the Dead (2004) is a comic horror with a ridiculously self-parodistic happy ending. Several scenes are shots, or better assembled, in a fast-paced neurotic style. The protagonist is an ordinary useless man who is forced by circumstances to become a hero, something akin the characters played by Cary Grant in Hitchcock's films.
The film is a satire of this kind of clueless man, who is so superficial that
he remains clueless for a long time to the apocalypse around him.
His best friend is even worse, a videogame addict with no purpose in life.
At the same time the two slackers fare a lot better than the nerds when it comes to imagination and courage, so indirectly the film is also a satire of the
quintessential hard-working middle-class man.
And of course the film is also a parody of horror movies.
There are basically two happy endings. The first one is trivial and expected:
of course, the protagonist and his love interest survive. The second one, a few minutes later, however, is a caricature of human society that can exploit
just about everybody and everything.
There is some kind of allegory in the fact that the protagonist and his friends simply tried to hide and didn't think of calling for help: who is the real
hero, the one who stood there and fought the zombies, or the one who ran to
call for help?
There is enough sociology and philosophy to elevate this comedy well above the average zombie movie.
Shaun is a failed man. His girlfriend Liz complains that he neglects her for his
buddy Ed. His housemate Pete is angry that Shaun protects the jobless and
reckless slacker Ed, who spends his time playing videogames and always forgets to close
the front door.
When he walks to the bus stop and takes the bus we see for a few seconds clues
that something is amiss: the newspaper's headline about mutilated people,
a passer-by falling to the floor, etc.
His girlfriend Liz leaves him a message reminding him of their dinner date.
His stepfather, whom Shaun refuses to call "father", reminds him to buy flowers
for his mother's dinner the following day.
On his way to buy the flowers Shaun sees briedly a strange man on the other side of the street and then doesn't pay attention to a man who is running away from something and an ambulance passing by.
Shaun forgets as usual to make the restaurant reservation and Liz dumps him.
He drives to her place and offers her the flowers that he bought for his mom,
that still have the card "for the most beautiful mom" stapled on them.
Liz doesn't forgive him and goes out instead with her housemates David and
Dianne. David rubs it in that he keeps screwing up. Shaun accuses him of being
jealous and in love with Liz.
Shaun spends the evening at the pub, crying and drinking with Ed.
They walk out late at night so drunk that they don't notice the erratic behavior of the people in the street. Then they stay up till 4am playing videogames and loud music until Pete yells at them.
The following morning Shaun walks to the neighborhood convenience store, which
is splattered with blood and doesn't pay attention to the fact that the owner
is missing, and then crosses the street without noticing all the zombies walking around.
Back home, Shaun flips through the channels of the TV-set, but doesn't spend enough time on any of the news channel to realize that the whole nation is talking about a crisis. Ed notices a woman loitering in their garden and they walk
outside, trying in vain to get her attention. When they finally succeed, she
attacks them trying to bite them. To defend himself, Shaun accidentally kills her, but she simply revives (despite a big hole in her chest) and tries to attack them again.
They finally listen to the news and realize that zombies are wreaking havoc
everywhere. Just then a zombie enters the house (Ed forgot to close the door)
and they have to kill him: they learned from TV that the zombies can be stopped
by removing their head.
They then face the woman and a fat zombie who joined her. They kill them with
garden tools. Then they walk back inside and keep listening to TV. They learn
that people who are bitten by zombies must be isolated. It occurs to them that
they haven't seen Pete yet.
The authorities are asking people to lock themselves in their homes. Shaun
however is concerned for his mother and for Liz and comes up with a plan to
Before leaving he uses the restroom and finds Pete: he turned into a zombie
and tries to attack him.
Shaun and Ed leave the house and drive to Shaun's mother.
Shaun's stepfather has been bitten and the plan is to kill him but Shaun, as
much as he dislikes his stepfather, cannot bear himself to do it.
While the zombies attack the home, Shaun takes both mom and wounded stepfather
and they all get into the same car.
Shaun gets out of the car in front of Liz's house while the others wait in the car. Shaun rings the bell in vain: Liz's housemates refuse to open to him.
He climbs through the window and begs them to leave with him.
The house is completely surrounded but they manage to run to the car and
all squeeze into the car with Ed, Shaun's mom and Shaun's wounded stepfather.
The stepfather knows that he is dying and tells Shaun that he always loved him.
Then he turns into a zombie and they all have to get out of the car.
They walk towards the pub, which Shaun considers the safest place in town.
On the way they meet a group led by Shaun's old friend Yvonne who is heading
in the opposite direction and simply exchanges niceties.
A zombie in a payama comes out of his house and attacks Shaun's mother.
Shaun walks back to save her.
Then they are blocked by a huge crowd of zombies that has assembled just in front of the pub.
They manage to walk through the crowd unharmed by imitating the walk and look of the zombies, but the door of the pub is locked.
Shaun distracts the zombies to give his group the chance to break a window
and sneak into the pub unseen.
He then rejoins them from the back door of the pub.
They realize that all TV channels are now dead.
Ed, the usual reckless brainless man, starts playing videogames and the noise
attracts the zombies.
They defend themselves with whatever object they can use to hit the heads of the
zombies and eventually use the gun of the pub.
Shaun's mother confesses that she was bitten by the zombie wearing a payama.
David grabs the gun and aims it at her. Shaun refuses to let him shoot accusing
him of wanting to kill his mother because he hates him, Shaun, because of Liz.
David's girlfriend Dianne agrees, telling David that she has sensed it before.
While they argue, Shaun's mom turns into a zombie and Shaun himself has to shoot her in the head.
Then David, who is becoming a burder to the group with his continuous panic
attacks, gets his punishment: the zombies grab him and eat him alive.
Dianne loses control and rushes against the horde but with the only result
of becoming the next casualty.
Pete is in the crowd and assaults Ed, biting him before Shaun shoots him dead.
Soon the pub is full of zombies trying to bite Shaun and Liz besides Ed.
The trio find a way to lock themselves in the cellar. Ed resigns himself
to dying there while Shaun and Liz escape via a service elevator.
Outside they see an apocalyptic scene: dozens of soldiers get out of a bus
and start shooting with machine guns at the zombies. Yvonne is with them:
instead of hiding she went to call the soldiers.
Shaun and Liz are recognized and rescued.
We then see TV news about the zombies being employed for entertainment and even
some practical chores. Liz and Shaun are watching the news at home. Shaun walks
outside and we see that Ed is alive, but chained to a shed, kept like a pet.
Shaun hands him a remote and they play a videogame together like in the old days.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010) is an adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's six graphic novels of the "Scott Pilgrim" series.
Wright employs creative and sometimes innovative ways to adapt a graphic novel: split screens, computer-like signs on people and objects, cartoon-like descriptions of sounds, abrupt scene changes, etc.
The pace of the action is hyper-kinetic,
and, visually, the film is sheer sensory overload.
Wright throws into the cauldron
kung-fu movies, videogames, rock videoclips, Bollywood musicals, gangster movies, horror movies, sci-fi movies, TV comedies, and of course cartoons.
A lame sentimental ending ruins the momentum that has been built over 100 minutes of nonstop visual invention.
22-year-old Scott Pilgrim is dating a high-schooler,
17-year-old ethnic Chinese high-school student Knives.
He introduces them to his rock band Sex Bob-Omb, which consists of
vocalist and guitarist Stephen and wild female drummer Kim,
as well as to introverted Neil, who lives in the house where they rehearse.
Knives is amazed by the power of their music.
Scott shares a home with Wallace, who is slightly older than him.
Wallace is not excited at the news that Scott is dating a girl.
Scott's younger sister Stacey calls, shocked to find out that Scott is dating
a high-schooler, and even Chinese.
Scott introduces Knives to his housemate Wallace, specifying that Wallace is gay.
Scott and Knives walk into a record store and one of the clerks, Julie,
invites Scott to a party, mocking him as "babysitting" Knives.
They walk around. Knives tells him that she never kissed.
Scott takes her to see the house where he grew up.
Then Scott dreams to be in the desert and a red-haired girl skateboards past him.
He wakes up. He is in bed with Wallace and Wallace's boyfriend, whose name is also Scott. He has an appointment with Knives at the library, where he sees a red-haired girl on skates. Knives notices that Scott freezes.
After rehearsing, the bandmates and Neil go to a party where Scott meets
Comeau, a slightly older young man who knows everybody.
He recognizes the girl from a confused sketch that Scott drew and tells him
that her name is Ramona and she's at that party.
Scott walks around and finds her standing alone against a wall.
Scott strikes a casual conversation which bores her to death.
He then stalks her around the party until she leaves.
Julie tells Scott that Ramona is new in town and works for Amazon.
Everybody else tells him that she's wild and she has men at her feet.
Julie forbids him to date Ramona based on the fact that Scott always ends up
breaking up and we learn that he also dumped drummer Kim.
Julie is Stephen's ex-girlfriend.
Back home Scott tells his housemate Wallace that the red-haired girl of his dream is real.
Seconds later his sister Stacey calls, furious that Scott is thinking of juggling two girls.
(Somehow Wallace has the ability to inform Stacey in a split second).
Scott orders something from Amazon hoping that Ramona will be the one delivering it at his house.
Scott also finds a strange email from a guy named
Matthew challenging him to a duel, but Scott deletes the him as boring.
The naive Knives is still excited about hanging out with Scott and the band.
Stephen informs Knives that Sex Bob-Omb is going to a battle of the bands
that may result in a record contract, and Knives gets more excited than Scott
Scott gets really excited when Ramona finally delivers the package.
He asks her for a date. They meet in the evening, but it starts snowing so she
invites him to her place.
They kiss and almost have sex but she pulls back.
Scott tells her about the band and the battle of the bands.
Ramona shows up at the club and sister Stacey, who is there with her boyfriend Jimmy, introduces her to Knives, who, as excited as always to see Scott, kisses him in front of everybody and in particular Ramona. Wallace and Stacey stare at Scott with an accusatory look. Scott panics and walks backstage.
The band performs well but suddenly a young ethnic Indian man erupts from the sky,
the Matthew who challenged him to a duel.
They begin an acrobatic kung-fu fight as Matthew introduces himself as
Ramona's evil ex-boyfriend. Ramona, from the balcony, explains how she met
Matthew through a series of cartoons. Matthew intones an Indian-style song and stages an Indian-style dance, backed by four sexy girls, while throwing fireballs at Scott (somewhere between a Bollywood musical and the "Rocky Horror Picture Show").
Scott somehow manages to win the duel (in scenes reminiscent of "Superman" cartoons) and Ramona, after pointing out that
Scott's housemate Wallace is seducing Stacey's boyfriend Jimmy,
grabs Scott from stage.
Knives was so excited that she fainted and missed the whole duel.
She wakes up in time to hear that Sex Bob-Omb are declared the winners,
but Scott is gone.
Scott is on a bus with Ramona, who tells him that, in order to date her, he
will have to defeat her evil ex-boyfriends, and there are still six of them.
Nonetheless, Scott walks home all happy, welcomed like in a TV comedy show by
an audience clapping, laughing and cheering.
His housemate Wallace, who just slept with Jimmy,
gives Scott an ultimatum to break up with Knives.
Scott meets Knives who invites him to her birthday dinner and to meet her parents, but Scott breaks her heart telling her that he wants to leave her.
Ramona visits Scott but Scott is intimidated when he sees that she dyed her hair blue.
Scott tells Ramona about how he broke up with his previous girlfriend but a voiceover tells us that he is lying: the girl dumped him and it was brutal.
Scott takes Ramona for a walk. They suddenly enter a movie set and Scott is
attacked by Ramona's ex-boyfriend, a famous actor.
Scott, attacked by this movie star and by his gang, has to demonstrate again his kung-fu skills.
Scott wins again.
But his romantic life gets further complicaged by a phone call of his ex,
Envy, the girl who cheated on him. She has become the singer of a band called
The Clash At Demonhead that is advertised everywhere.
She literally comes out of a poster of the band while Scott is with Ramona
to tell him that she is jealous.
Scott swears to never think of Envy again but his band has to play at the same gig.
Knives is so obsessed with getting Scott back that she dyes her hair blue
and starts dating Neil. They show up at the concert. Knives is also a fan of
pop star Envy.
Scott's band plays to an indifferent audience that came to listen to
After the concert, the two bands are summoned back stage.
Scott, Ramona, Envy and Knives find themselves all in the same room.
It turns out that Envy's boyfriend Todd, her band's guitarist, is one of Ramona's ex-boyfriends.
Todd is a pompous asshole. When he punches Knives, Scott attacks him.
Todd has alien white eyes and psychic powers that come from being a vegan.
Their duel (with sci-fi movie overtones) begins on a stage, each playing his instrument. Scott manages to win by having Todd executed for secretly eating meat.
Shortly afterwards Scott is attacked by vicious lesbian ninja Roxy: one of Ramona's ex-boyfriends was a girlfriend.
This actually turns into a kung-fu duel between Ramona and Roxy.
When Scott intervenes, Ramona suggests how to beat Roxy and Roxy
explodes and a shower of coins drops from the sky.
Scott gets disgusted by Ramona's sex life. Feeling insulted, Ramona leaves him
but first tells him who the next evil boyfriends are.
Next, it's two twin djs that confront them at a concert.
Sex Bob-Omb play their loud rock music against tornadoes of electronic music
and images unleashed by the twins. Somehow Scott manages to turn the tornado
against them and the audience hails him the winner.
Knives in the audience, still in love with him, but Scott still ignores her
and pursues Ramona again. However, Ramona is back with her seventh ex-boyfriend,
who happens to be the very record executive Gideon whom the band has been trying to impress. He offers them a record contract on the spot.
Stephen and Kim sign in a hurry while Scott protests that it's a sell-out:
he gets replaced on the spot by Neil.
Ramona leaves in Gideon's limo.
Scott has lost both his girlfriend and his band.
He soon also loses his place: Wallace asks him to move out.
Gideon invites Scott to check out his new club and the opening act: the Sex Bob-Omb.
Scott is shocked to see his band turned into a mainstream act.
Scott challenges Gideon and starts a riot, fighting simultaneously multiple
Gideon is about to win when, out of the blue, Knives intervenes. She has turned
into a flying ninja warrior. She attacks Ramona while Scott attacks Gideon.
Scott stops Knives and Ramona but is killed by Gideon.
Ramona appears to him in the same desert of the first hallucination
and confesses that Gideon has control over her mind.
Scott finds himself inside a videogame and uses the
"1-up" option to re-enter Gideon's club, very much alive.
Scott challenges Gideon with a flaming sword, but this time not for the love of Ramona but for his own self-respect.
Chaos erupt. His band starts playing punk-rock like before the sell-out.
Knives jumps on Ramona brandishing two swords, ready to kill her, and Scott saves Ramona.
Then he resumes his fencing duel with Gideon.
Gideon is about to win but Ramona and Knives join the fight until Gideon
collapses. Scott kicks him in the face and another shower of coins falls from
the sky. Stephen, knowing that their record contract is dead, grabs as many
coins as possible.
Scott is now confronted by his own self, "Nega Scott".
Scott reconciles with himself.
Ramona, tired of people getting hurt over her, says goodbye to Scott.
Knives, however, encourages Scott to follow her.
World's End (2013)
Baby Driver (2017) is a truculent crime thriller with
some adrenaline-pumping chases (even on foot) and an original plot focused on
a protagonist who is not a real criminal but an eccentric character
with a good heart. For almost two hours the film flows like an impeccable
(if madcap) clockwork and picks up pace along the way.
The direction is energetic and at the same almost hypnotic.
Unfortunately, the last duel in the parking garage and the romantic, optimistic Hollywood-ian happy ending sound strained and implausible, and kill some of the momentum.
A car stops in front of a bank. Two men and a woman walk out of it and enter the bank.
The driver, a much younger man, remains in the car, listening to loud music.
We see the robbery through the windows of the bank.
The bandits run back to the car and the young driver starts driving at high
speed, chased by a police car. Soon there are many more police cars
chasing them and police checkpoints trying to stop them.
The young driver manages to lose them and switch cars inside a parking lot.
The name of the young driver is Baby.
Later they meet an older man, Doc, who splits the money in equal parts.
One of the robbers, Griff, is upset that Baby never speaks and keeps listening
to music with headsets. Doc instead protects him and tells him that he has
to do one one more job for him, after which they will have settled their debt.
Baby lives in an apartment with an old black mute man in a wheelchair
and communicates with him with sign language.
His hobby is to make music: he uses a recording of the conversation with Griff
to produce a tape, and we see that he has a huge collection of tapes.
One tape reminds him of a car crash that happened while his parents were arguing
While he's in a diner, he sees a sexy waitress walk in and starts recording her
singing. Debora starts chatting with him and he starts recording her, which she notices but doesn't mind.
Doc calls him for a new job. He then introduces him to a new crew.
Again, they are suspicious that Baby doesn't speak and listens to music all the time.
Doc explains that Baby was already an amazing driver when he was just a teenager. Doc met him when Baby stole and damaged his car, and since then Baby has been paying back the money as his getaway driver.
Doc explains that a car crash left him with tinnitus and music helps him live with it.
Baby proves to them that he can read their lips and memorize every detail of
the conversation even if he's listening to loud music.
This time the robbery gets complicated: the bandits kill a cop and then get
into a shootout with an armed passer-by.
Baby calmly manages to lose the cops again, but he's clearly shaken by the
violence of the crew.
They deliver the money again to Doc, and Doc keeps his word: Baby doesn't have
to work for him anymore. Doc leaves him the dead body of one of the robbers,
who made the mistake of losing a gun during the escape.
Baby drives the car to a junkyard and when the car is being crushed he remembers
the car accident again. We guess that his parents got killed.
Baby returns to the diner and starts dating waitress Debora.
The old black man convinces him to become a pizza delivery boy.
Baby is having dinner at a fancy restaurant with Debora
when Doc shows up and pays the bill. Doc forces Baby to accept another job, or become an invalid, and, for good measure, he also threatens to disfigure Debora.
Doc sends Baby and his eight-year-old nephew inside a post office to check the security cameras, the security guard and so on. It turns out the child is very good at memorizing the details of a heist target.
Baby chats with a teller, who is nice to him.
Doc organizes the usual meeting.
The crew consists of the same couple as the first heist
(Buddy and his wife Monica) and black man Bats.
Doc sends them to purchase guns.
Bats stops the car at a convenience store to get chewing gum and Baby realizes
that Bats robs the store and possibly kills the clerk.
They head at night to an abandoned warehouse where they meet the gundealers.
Bats recognizes one of the dealers as an undercover cop who once arrested him
and starts a shootout. They kill some of the gundealers but Baby is almost killed.
They manage to escape.
Buddy and Monica are furious at Bats for risking their lives.
As they are driving away,
Bats forces Baby stop at Debora's diner. Baby walks in without greeting Debora
and she understands that something is wrong.
Buddy continues the argument with Bats, and they insult and threaten each other.
Baby keeps ignoring Debora and therefore she's rude to them.
Bats pulls out the gun, ready to kill her. Baby stops him.
On the way out Baby slips a note to Debora that he will pick her up early
When they return to Doc's place, Doc tells them that they were "his" cops.
Bats justifies himself saying that the cops starting shooting first, which is
false. Doc calls him with his real name, Leon, and tells him that the job is
canceled and tells him to get out of town. Bats protests. Buddy and Monica want to do the job. Doc only trusts Baby. Surprisingly, Baby sides with Bats, Buddy
and Monica. Everybody leaves to go and sleep, but Buddy and Bats stop Baby,
suspecting that he wants to squeal to the police or works for the police:
Bats has found one of the tapes that Baby makes of their conversations.
They force him to drive to his home and return to Doc with all the many tapes
that Baby made. Baby plays them and proves that he remixes them to make music.
Doc doesn't trust him anymore and wants to find another driver, but Baby
insists that he wants to be the driver for the post office heist.
In the morning Debora waits in vain at the diner. Baby drives the trio to
the post office. While he waits outside in the car, the nice teller recognizes
him and understands that a heist is going on. She calls a security guard.
As the guard approaches Baby in the car, the trio walks out of the post office
with the loot. Bats does not hesitate and kills the security guard. Then
the trio hysterically shouts at Baby to drive away, but Baby refuses.
Then Baby drives, but drives the car straight into a truck, causing Bats to
die in the crash. Baby jumps out of the car with the bag containing the loot
and a gun, and starts running away, while
the couple (Buddy and Monica) engages in a shoutout with the cops that are
arriving by the dozens. Buddy and Monica would also like to kill the traitor
Baby, but Baby is faster than them and than the police. Baby runs on foot
through the city, with acrobatic jumps, while Buddy and Monica run but
also shoot at the cops. Eventually Monica is shot dead. Buddy aims at
Baby to kill him to avenge Monica's death but Baby manages to drive away in
a stolen car. Baby manages to reach his apartment, which has been turned upside
down by Bats. The old black mute Joe is lying on the floor but alive.
Baby grabs all the money that he has been hiding under the floor, calls Debora
at the diner to tell her that he's coming, carries
Joe in his arms to the stolen car and drives to an assisted living home.
Baby leaves the mute Joe there and records a tape to describe who Joe is and what he needs. Then Baby drives to the diner to pick up Debora but Buddy is
there waiting for him, determined to avenge Monica's death.
Buddy is about to kill Debora in front of Baby when he gets distracted and
Baby shoots him with the gun he stole.
Buddy lies down wounded while Baby grabs Debora and runs out.
Buddy kills the first cop that walks into the diner and we don't see what
happens next in the diner.
Baby steals a sport car from two kids who are smoking pot and shows Debora
his driving skills. He drives to Doc's place. He asks Doc for help and offers
the bag with the loot in return for one of his tapes, the tape with his mom's voice. Doc refuses, angry that Baby screwed up his plan.
Baby begs in vain. Then Debora walks in and Doc realizes that Baby is in love.
Somehow this changes Doc's attitude. Not only does he give him the tape but
also gives him money and personally shoots three dirty cops (the surviving
gundealers) who try to stop them in the parking garage.
Doc is wounded but kills them, and tells Baby to run.
Then a police car enters the parking garage: it's Buddy, who stole the police
car, still determined to kill Baby in revenge for Monica's death.
Doc pulls out the gun to stop Buddy but Buddy runs him over and kills him.
That begins a lengthy duel with Baby, who keeps jumping from car to car,
chased by Buddy in the unbreakable police car.
Finally Baby manages to outsmart Buddy and send the police car crashing down
the multi-story parking garage. But Buddy jumped out of the car in time and
is ready again to kill Debora but Debora hits him with a crowbar giving Baby
a chance to kill Buddy. Then it's Debora who drives away, while Baby falls
unconscious, and she is playing the tape of Baby's mom when Baby reawakens.
They don't get very far. They are stopped by a police roadblock and this time
Baby decides to surrender. At the trial several people testify that he didn't
harm any innocent, and his old man Joe testified that he has a good heart.
He is sentenced to spend 5 years in prison. During the trial Debora learns
his rena name, Miles. She writes to him in prison and she's outside waiting
for him the day of his release. We see the last scene in black and white,
like we saw it when he was dreaming about her after the first time he met her.
Last Night in Soho (2021) is a psychological horror thriller.