This commentary by Film Radar looks at the costume and production design of the new movie “Baby Driver” directed by Edgar Wright. I haven’t seen this movie yet but have heard a lot of positive reviews especially about it’s use of soundtrack and, as someone who is passionate about music, am putting it at the top of my list. So this video particularly jumped out at me amidst my whirlpool of youtube searches because I find production design to be fascinating and quite often under represented in conversations about filmmaking.
In this video, Film Radar dissects each character is assigned a specific color palate that, once interpreted, gives them extra dimensions to their story, actions, and personality. As Edgar Write puts it, he hopes to “color code the characters.” For example, Film Radar tells us that Baby is typically dressed in black and white which can be seen as a parallel to the two lives that he leads: one of crime and another of domestic tranquility and happiness. It also relates to his old-fashioned romanticized view of the world which contrasts to the violent life he participates in. By working closely with costume designer Courtney Hoffman to focus on color in costume and set design, Edgar Wright’s characters inhabit a world physically designed to reflect their inner lives, which makes the experience of watching the film as a viewer all the more alive and dynamic.
Film Radar uses voiceover narration, additional graphics, text, and outside recordings from other interviews to create his videographic criticism. Most of the clips run behind his voice silently, although a few do include sound and dialogue to emphasize Film Radar’s point. To me, this video can be described as an elaboration of a specific element of the film. Film Radar chose to analyze the colors and found specific clips to support his point. Which brings me to the main question this video inspired for me in terms of making videographic criticisms: what is the impact of a video criticism when you manipulate it to say something about itself rather than using it to reinforce something you are trying to say?
To clarify, I feel like Film Radar’s video on “Baby Driver” was almost more like a video essay rather than a videographic criticism. Not that his method is incorrect or ineffective but it made me think more about the ways to use a text. As we have seen in class it is possible to make the text speak for itself through particular manipulations – contrast of images, the repetition of patterns, etc – rather than having a narrator speak for it. I could picture another video taking on the same topic of costume and color choices in “Baby Driver” and approaching it in a style that would be less “telling” and more “showing.” With that said, I still really enjoyed watching this video and felt like I gained a lot watching it. Hopefully the same will come out of watching “Baby Driver!”