Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Last Night in Soho - Review


Every director has a style. Yes, even ones that may not be flashy or overtly visible, have a style to their films. Edgar Wright just happens to be on of the flashiest. Throughout his filmography, the quick editing and visual humor of his directorial outings have made his profile soar, and Last Night in Soho was perhaps his most anticipated film to date. A return to horror, two fantastic women leading the performances, and a glimpse into Wright’s neon soaked vision of the 60s, what more could you ask for?

An aspiring fashion designer (Thomasin McKenzie) is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s, where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer (Anya Taylor-Joy). However, 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 is a strong filmmaker. And it’s because of that fact that Last Night in Soho doesn’t completely fall apart in whatever conclusion its trying to reach. It’s terribly uneven, despite its interesting setup and dazzling visuals, and by the end, it’s hard to see what Wright thought this would all add up to. But the director’s vision still comes through somewhat, and it mercifully never drags, it just can’t pull together its off-shooting ideas into a coherent and satisfying conclusion to match the technical aspects that work. 

The film starts with such promise, and continues it for much of the film, even if the clues were present early on that it may not stick the landing. The idea of a young student venturing to London for the first time and quickly learning their enthusiasm may be misplaced is textbook horror film setup, but with Wright’s creativity, it has places to go that are unique. Then it just tries to say too much. There are too many instances of ideas stuffed into the film that don’t all mesh. 

Beyond Wright’s skills as a director, the other elements holding the film together with scotch tape are the performances. Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie are stars, they both carry this strange balance of intensity and vulnerability the suits them both in different ways. Through the film’s mechanics of time hopping dreams and visions of the past, the two do share a few moments of interaction, but not nearly enough given how excellent the two of them are. 

Last Night in Soho is not a decent film. It’s probably near the bottom of Wright’s directorial endeavors, but when his catalogue is as fantastic as it is, that’s not saying it’s bad by any means. Trimming some of its lesser ideas for the more tension filled mystery at its center would’ve done wonders for a film that wants to be this frightening ghost story, but isn’t all that frightening at the end of the day, nor anything but an okay film bound to be forgotten like the horrors of London itself.

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