LAST NIGHT IN SOHO – A Review by Gadi Elkon

Edgar Wright seems to increase his ante with each hand (I mean film) he plays.  Is Last Night in Soho the next great Wright flick?  Here is my review of the film.

In acclaimed director Edgar Wright’s psychological thriller, Eloise, an aspiring fashion designer, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer, Sandie. But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something far darker.

Edgar Wright’s brilliant ability to both give a tongue-in-cheek comedic delight and also deliver suspense, action and genre spoofing quality has stamped his importance.  Last Night In Soho is a unique film in that its idea is one of his oldest but the decade plus timeframe in figuring out the necessary details has made it maybe his most incredible work.  I must admit I can’t truly say where it lies in his collection, but I’ll soundly say on first viewing I WAS BLOWN AWAY.  Edgar’s pacing, wit and infinity for musical landscaping have all become staples in his works.  Last Night In Soho adds a real homage quality to the 60s of London that isn’t really present in Wright’s previous films.  I’m not sure if its the writing chops of Krysty Wilson-Cairns or the two lead ladies in the film but Wright’s latest film taps into new ground for him.  This film has all the staples of super fast pace that turns corners literally and figuratively with no abandon and yet I leaped out of my chair more in this film than the last 10 horror films I’ve seen.  The before mentioned wit is captured especially in the mean girls like quality of the classmates of Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie).  And yes the musical score and song set list is immaculate as usual. Steven Price once again captures so much emotion with his musical touches. But Edgar’s new haunting style for this film is really intriguing.  Not sure if it’s his teaming with DP Chung-hoon Chung, or maybe the simple casting of Terrance Stamp or something in the Marcus Rowland production design prowess that literally rebuilt 60’s era Soho.  OR maybe its the way his vibrant visual color scheme is as impactful as the dark dullness of the faceless ghost like figures that inhabit poor Eloise’s world.  The odyssey this young lady is forced to endure via Wright and Wilson-Cairns tale is just horrific.  The more we dive deeper into her fragile mind the deeper the mystery of the plot becomes.

Edgar’s given us a film that not only fits in his lexicon and yet seems completely fresh and new to his collection.  Maybe its the magical Matt Smith turning from sweet lovable Mr. Hyde like figure to the evil Jekyll his Jack character embodies that really makes this suspense turn into horror.  No matter what the cause is the reality is that Edgar has given us a real masterwork.  I’ve said all this praise without even mentioning the utter starlet quality of Anya Taylor-Joy.   She may have captured all our kings with her turn as the Queen’s Gambit but she is downright gorgeous as the doomed Sandie of Elosie’s nightmares.  Anya’s sultry movements completely highlight the amazing costume design work of Odile Dicks-Mireaux.  Now Anya’s portrayal has a lovely arch but Thomasin’s the star of this film no doubt.  Mckenzie’s take on innocent Eloise has the most significant change.  The way in which Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairnes have weaved a wonderful web of male evilness that taps deeply into the current times is the real treat of the film.  As we see how the bright fantastic lights of 60’s London is as treacherous and dark as all the eras women have had to fight through we realize the struggle is set in modern times with Eloise.

The movie in no way is preachy or comes across as trying to make a statement but it fully taps into a 60’s staple, It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.  Granted James Brown doesn’t have his touch on this film as we are given more a Brit take on the whole patriarchal elements of the story.  Nonetheless, I was amazed at how much this film gives to current talking points while still being a scary haunting brilliant film that stands on its own.   On top all of that there truly is a twisting and terrible murder mystery to be solved.  I won’t get into any more as I implore you to GO SEE THIS FILM!!

Easily one of the year’s finest films.  Award worthy and capable of stamping itself into your lexicon as one of the best from Edgar Wright.

I fucking love this movie!

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO

Directed by: Edgar Wright

Written by: Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns

Rated: R

Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars

Running Time: 1 hrs 56 mins

Theatrical Release: In Theaters Friday.

Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, Diana Rigg, Rita Tushingham, Michael Ajao, Synnove Karlsen

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

Last Night in Soho L1180593 RT BW
Actor Anya Taylor-Joy, director Edgar Wright and actor Matt Smith on the set of their film LAST NIGHT IN SOHO, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Greg Williams / © 2021 Greg Williams
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