Saturday, April 22, 2017

Short Film Spotlight: DEAD RIGHT

Welcome back to another installment of SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT, where we highlight some of the best short films out there.  This week, we take a look at the very first film of popular director Edgar Wright…DEAD RIGHT!

Dead Right is the first film from writer/director Edgar Wright and, much like his second entry in the Cornetto Trilogy Hot Fuzz, it is a parody buddy-cop thriller. Wright made this with his friends and a number of other people he was connected with when he was just 18 years old. The film features a cast of 70 actors who are predominantly amateurs and Wright did basically all of the production work otherwise.

This paragraph is a preface that people need to understand as I review this short film. This is not a professional movie by any sense of the imagination and just as I wouldn’t feel right reviewing and scoring someone’s home videos, I almost don’t here either. The cinematography is shoddy, the effects are incredibly poor, and the acting is mostly terrible. From the basic respects that I look at film, it is very hard for me to grade this on the same scale because it isn’t at that level. Even in his introduction to the film, Wright said that this is a poorly made film that a viewer will not likely enjoy. The reason I am reviewing it is because I think there is something interesting in here about a good filmmaker.

Edgar Wright’s cop movies, Dead Right and Hot Fuzz, very clearly share a central thread. Wright has a real interest in doing the British version of an over-the-top American cop movie. It is fascinating to see the ways in which his vast knowledge of movies and his life in Britain have coalesced into these two films that somehow manage to both work and have interesting cross cultural connection. This is primarily what works in Dead Right. You can feel the essence of this idea coming out of the film as it follows a lot of the typical American cop movie tropes but still feels fundamentally British.

Additionally, I think you see the very early development of Edgar Wright’s editing skills in here. The cuts are not nearly as quick and precise as they are today (nor are they accompanied with the signature sound effects), but they are eye-catching and clearly show the genesis of the brilliance we see today. The film also has a few funny moments that will put the occasional smile on a viewer’s face.

That’s about the end of the positives though. This is a film that Wright and his friends can look back on fondly and film nerds can look at in exploring how Edgar Wright became “Edgar Wright.” The film is bad in pretty much every technical and performance based aspect but it remains interesting nonetheless.

Ryan’s Score: 2/10

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