Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

‘Bring the Noise!’ Sonic Intensified Continuity in the Films of Edgar Wright

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2013), 7, (2), 141–166.

Abstract

Recent sound studies scholarship has sought to characterise contemporary film sound design and the role that digital sound technology has played in the shaping of film aesthetics. This article contributes to this discussion by arguing that David Bordwell's concept of intensified continuity is a useful framework for analyzing the stylistic norms that govern both sound and image in today's mainstream narrative cinema. Using the films of Edgar Wright as case studies, the article demonstrates how many contemporary films frequently balance highly stylised uses of sound with the desire to ensure coherent storytelling. The author uses examples from Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The World's End to outline a number of sonic techniques that characterise both Wright's individual directorial style and some larger trends within mainstream cinema. Wright's films give evidence of how digital technology allows sound to become an interesting and important part of contemporary cinematic narration. By using sound to draw attention to a film's construction and method of storytelling, filmmakers like Wright can expand the creative potential of sound, while still mobilising it to tell stories in fairly traditional ways.

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Author details

McQueen, Amanda