Synopsis – An aspiring fashion designer is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer. But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something darker – Last Night in Soho
Director – Edgar Wright
Released – 2021
For fans of – Malignant, Woman in Black, The Night House
Every once in a great while, a film comes along, that is made for the cinema and by that I mean it blends every aspect of film-making (the music, the cinematography, the acting, the costumes, the sets, the plot, the special effects, the direction and the editing) in a way that you find yourself entirely captivated in the story and I wish I hadn’t waited so long to experience Edgar Wrights horror/thriller/mystery hybrid.
Last Night in Soho takes the viewer back to ’60s London in a way that challenges the nostalgia people feel for that decade. Sure, you have the fashion, music and new-found freedoms, yet this is still a time when grey-suited old men are in control and it was all too easy for even the strongest of women to find themselves reduced to playthings rich and powerful, with Wright using both male gaze and female gaze to great effect, flipping between them to keep the audience on edge and leaving you unsure what is real and what is in the mind of Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), a character dealing with moving from the countryside to London and finding it not to be all sunshine and roses.
While most will find Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) to more mesmerising performance, for me it was Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit, Leave No Trace) who stole the show, which is good given you spend 3/4 of the movie with Eloise as her actions and mannerisms get gradually more erratic, as the time-slips between modern Britain and the swinging sixties become darker getting darker and the barriers between the two times become blurred. As expected, Taylor-Joy of course does a stellar job as Sandie, beautiful you girl searching for fame and fortune as a singer in ’60s London, who has the misfortune of coming into contact with Matt Smith’s character Jack, a slimy talent manager who doesn’t always have his girls best interest at heart, as seen as Eloise through the eyes of Sandie starts to discover the life behind the showbiz curtain, a world where sex, drugs and power consume all and the hopes & dreams of young girls come to die.
Another of the delights of the film was the skilled cinematography of Chung-hoon Chung (Stoker) combined with the direction of Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World), these two pulled it off incredibly, forcing you to keep close attention to every single shot, looking out for subtle hints as to what is really going on, while also being in awe at the beautiful locations and shots. this is a film that you definitely need to watch this movie at least twice to fully experience all that Wright and Chung accomplished.
Overall, Edgar Wright has produced another masterpiece with Last Night in Soho, it’s easily one of my favourite movies of 2021 and I find it such a shame that more people didn’t get to experience this more in all its glory on the big screen, but alas, it wasn’t to be.