Modern Life is Rubbish: Blur on Film

THERE is a scene in Edgar Wright’s aesthetically harmonic film Baby Driver where he matches the sound of frantically moving window wipers with Blur’s 1993 song Intermission.

As the music and the wipers compete in searing tempos like two boiling kettles ready to burst, Wright plays with the visual speed of the film by mixing in brief moments of slow-motion to contrast the audio frenzy. It is a spiralling scene that – without spoiling it entirely – culminates in a truly whiplashing act before the song settles back down to a fading tempo for the immediate aftermath.

Wright’s wonderfully imaginative use of Blur’s music stands tall among all filmmakers to have used the British rock band’s sound through the years.

Most commonly, Blur’s Song 2 – a track intended to mock American grunge music – has been a popular choice for many movie action scenes. With its crashing guitars and catchy ‘woo-hoo’ hook, Song 2 has helped filmmakers convey exciting, full-throttle (albeit brief) chaos.

In Charlie’s Angels (2000), Song 2 plays as Dylan (Drew Barrymore) fights off a group of henchmen while tied to a chair. She even interrupts the song to quickly explain the beating she is about to dish out to them.


Likewise, Bob (Dwayne Johnson) and Calvin (Kevin Hart) find themselves surrounded by guns in Central Intelligence (2016) – only for Song 2 to kick in and Bob’s audacious escape plan to pay off.

Danny Boyle’s 1996 classic Trainspotting utilises Blur’s sound for more ruminative purposes. Shortly after a tragic discovery, Renton (Ewan McGregor) and friends go shoplifting in search of money to feed their draining heroin addictions. Paired with Renton’s penetrative voiceover, Blur’s 1991 song Sing lends to the numb feeling of this sequence as the Scottish addict continues to make a series of bad decisions.


In contrast to the disconnected state of Renton, Blur is evoked during one incredibly sensual scene in Roger Kumble’s Cruel Intentions (1999). With Kumble’s camera unapologetically close, we watch on as Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) teaches Cecile (Selma Blair) how to kiss with tongues. Blur’s 1999 song Coffee and TV underscores the whole scene, giving a relaxed and engrossing tone to the salvia swapping.

On the topic of romance, the music of Blur will feature in Daniel Gill’s upcoming British romantic-comedy Modern Life is Rubbish – starring Freya Mavor and Josh Whitehouse.

Modern Life is Rubbish, named after Blur’s second studio album, is about a young couple who are brought together by their love of music. But when life gets in the way of their romance, it is then down to their loving memories – many of which are attached to the CDs of bands such as Blur, The Kooks and Radiohead – to bring them back together.

Modern Life is Rubbish is a fun and endearing celebration of British music and of Blur. A band that has already had its fair share of movie moments – with many more to come.

Modern Life is Rubbish is out Friday 4th May


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