WHO is he?
British filmmaker, screenwriter and producer who has directed five features and numerous television series since his debut in the mid-nineties. Inspired by the horror classics of the 70s and the 80s, which still continue to influence his filmmaking, Wright started making short films as a teenager at home. He frequently collaborates with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
WHAT are his films about?
Wright’s films typically graft themes generally considered “serious” or “polemical” onto deceptively simple narratives. All these films, in their own way, address the broad question of how we live in this age and how the powers that be shape and distort the old way of experiencing the world around us. These films also address questions such as male mid-life crisis, the paranoia and xenophobia that lurk beneath town life and the mass psychology of extreme ideologies while retaining the conventions of the genres that these films play on.
One of the most prominent characteristics of Wright’s films is the barrage of sharp dialogue that are immaculately timed, delivered and edited. The director’s acute comic sensibility is predicated on the effect that repeating images, sounds, dialogues and spaces have. His films are rife with references to classic films of the genre they borrow from, but do not alienate the uninitiated viewer. These movies are among the best edited works in contemporary cinema, with their masterly manipulation of familiar sound bites and fleeting character reactions.
WHY is he of interest?
Although he is frequently grouped with other filmmakers labelled “postmodern”, Wright is far from settling for an appropriation of classical genre cinema for the sake of spoof, tribute or empty referencing. On the contrary, he infuses these conventional forms with a consistent worldview and political charge that places him closer to the auteurs of the previous generation than the clever movie brats of his generation.
WHERE to discover him?
Shaun of the Dead (2004) poses itself as a “zomcom” — a comedy set in the backdrop of a zombie epidemic — and centres on a middle-aged working class fellow (Simon Pegg) going through a relationship crisis who finds himself up in arms against the living dead. Wright’s mischievous film strikes a relation between the mechanised nature of work under capitalism and zombie life and offers a fantastical, cathartic avenue to deal with the crushing inertia of middle age.