Edgar Wright’s latest “Last Night in Soho” will certainly remind you why people love this ingenious British filmmaker: the mixture of genres, the love of pop culture, and the lure of nostalgia. Yet on the other hand, without his unique editing style, “Last Night in Soho” feels a little bit different from his previous films like “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.”
The promising Thomasin McKenzie plays Eloise, a naive girl who just moves to London for fashion design study. After moving into the apartment owned by Ms. Collins (played by the late Diana Rigg. RIP), Eloise begins to have dreams in which her spirit and body start to blend with an attractive dancer named Sadie (Anya Taylor-Joy) during the nighttime of the glamorous 1960s’ Soho. In these dream-like, magical scenes, Eloise sometimes stands with Sandie in the room; sometimes they reflect each other in the mirror; sometimes Eloise takes Sandie’s place. However, as Sandie’s life turns dark and hopeless, Eloise’s reality starts collapse as well.
McKenzie and Taylor-Joy are both phenomenal here with their dual lead performances. McKenzie’s beautiful portrayal of Eloise gives us a full experience of her state of mind that will drill under your skin; Taylor-Joy adds a complex layer for Sandie as we see her haunting transformation from a dreamer to an abused victim. Not only do these two talented young actresses add new highlights on their already impressive resume, but also give “Last Night in Soho” a deeper, darker, and more mature examination of female identity, which we should give credit to Wright’s co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“1917”) for making female characters here richer and more three-dimensional.
Glowing the 1960s London streets with violet-red and blue neon lights, production designer Marcus Rowland and costume designer Odile Dick-Mireaux’s dazzling works are visually stunning. Every frame is fashionable and violently bloody, especially the sexy night scenes shot by Korean veteran cinematographer Chung-Hoon Chung (“Oldboy,” “The Handmaiden,” and “It”). “Last Night in Soho” is Weight’s love letter to the lively London 1960s’ culture and fashions. His directing is extremely precise and effective. Even though the whodunnit plot somehow gets a little bit cliché near the end, it is still one of the most unusual and memorable cinematic experiences of the year.
- Distributor: Focus Features
- Production: Complete Fiction, Film4, Working Title Films, Focus Features International, and Perfect World Pictures
- Director: Edgar Wright
- Writer: Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
- Producer: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Nira Park, and Edgar Wright
- Cast: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg, Michael Ajao, and Terence Stamp
- “Last Night in Soho” premiered at Venice Film Festival. In theaters October 29, 2021
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