The latest movie from cult director Edgar Wright showcases a filmmaker at the peak of their powers
It’s always somewhat worrying to see a new movie from your favourite directors because there is always that chance it doesn’t live up to the hype you’ve built around it. With Edgar Wright being my guy, the fear was well and truly there.
Last Night in Soho tells the story of an aspiring fashion designer named Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), who is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy). But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something darker.
The main thing to know when you see an Edgar Wright movie is that you are going to see something that you’ve never seen before, and Last Night in Soho is exactly that. The story itself takes a darker turn than we are used to seeing from the director who brought us Shaun of the Dead (and let’s face it, it is definitely more of a comedy than horror).
Last Night in Soho gradually gets darker as the run time continues, more akin to the psychological horrors of Get Out than previous Cornetto trilogy entries. It's also important to point out that Krysty Wilson-Cairn was also a writer of the movie, and her presence can definitely be felt in the vivid realness of all the female characters. They each have a distinct genuine personality, a trait that is often missed when some male writers have female leads.
Visually, Last Night in Soho is incredible, with practical and digital effects flowing seamlessly throughout. Camera tricks and quick editing have become expected styles of Wright, but he takes a chance on more experimental angles, and it really pays off. The cinematography is also a great element, with a special mention for the great use of colour, really showing the full-colour explosion of the 1960s.
That’s the story and visuals covered, but what about the talent acting it out? Well, lucky for us, Last Night in Soho stars two of the world’s biggest upcoming stars as its leads in Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy. Any fan of 2019’s Jojo Rabbit will know the skill of McKenzie at playing a lost character in frightening circumstances, and she again knocks the role out of the park. Taylor-Joy fits the 1960’s aesthetic perfectly, with her roles in Split and The Queen’s Gambit really confirming her space as an actress that just owns every scene she appears in. Matt Smith appears in a role that not many would expect him to be, especially after his incredibly likeable run in Doctor Who. His charming yet frightening appearance really fills out the main characters, with each supporting character bringing something else to the story.
Lastly, this movie gets spooky, like covering your eyes but yet on the edge of your seat spooky. Some of the imagery is truly terrifying; messing with your brain as well as your eyes.
Overall I loved it. Too many movies are easy to figure out when there is a bit of mystery. Last Night in Soho led me to believe I had figured it out, and then it slapped me in the face with a great twist. Wright took a chance, ways with his comedy roots to really go all out psychological horror, and it definitely paid off.
Director: Edgar Wright (Baby Driver + Shaun of the Dead)
Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz + Scott Pilgrim vs. the World)
Krysty Wilson-Cairn (1917)
Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit + Old)
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit + Split)
Diana Rigg (On Her Majesty's Secret Service + Game of Thrones)
Matt Smith (Doctor Who +The Crown)
Michael Ajao (Attack the Block)
Terence Stamp (Superman + The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert)
Pauline McLynn (Father Ted)
Running Time: 1h 56min
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery