Friday, October 29, 2021

Last Night in Soho Review: A Stylish Film With An Underlying Darker Message

Release date: October 29, 2021 (DC Area)
Running time: 116 minutes
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, Diana Rigg, Rita Tushingham, Michael Ajao, Synnove Karlsen

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.

Last Night in Soho is a very different experience than I expected.  After the shock of what was happening wore off, I really did like the style of this film. It goes from modern day London to an idealistic, 60s London and seeing those back to back was a treat.  I also really loved McKenzie in this meatier role, where she has to a variety of characters throughout this film.  And Anya Taylor-Joy was a revelation as Sandie, with a cool confidence and style that made her instantly stand out from everything else on screen.  

But this film also feels very unique.  The melding of the 60s style with an exploration of some of the darker themes that underlie that style was an interesting take.  I loved the jarring nature of some of this, where you see beautiful bright lights and classic, safe feeling locales only to have that shattered with later revelations.  I also really loved the music and how Edgar Wright used that for storytelling.  You will have these classic songs that you associate with a golden age of music or better times, only to have them playing over some sinister experiences.  It really was something that was stylistically impressive.  

And although Last Night in Soho does so much right, the ending does leave a little to be desired.  It kind of flips some of the themes on their head, and changes some of the conclusions and preconceptions that we have learned about before.  If I'm being honest, I really didn't like the ending and thought it was a little clumsy and too interested in shock value.  This was a surprise given how interesting and careful the film had been up until that point.  But thankfully, it didn't soil the overall experience, it just left me scratching my head for a bit. But after I got over the annoyance of the ending, I kept going back to how unique this whole film felt!

Last Night in Soho is a time trip, with a stylish format and some amazing 1960s music to aid this thriller that explores some darker themes than you initially expect.

Watch it.

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Last Night in Soho is in theaters on October 29, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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