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’, Edgar Wright’s first foray into horror, is a psychological drama centering on Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie), a young fashion student who moves to London to indulge her passion, not just for fashion but for everything relating to 1960s London. She loves the music of the era, the style and the carefree attitude of the people, and to an extent, she longs to be living in that period and not in the present where she struggles to fit in. London in the 1960s is described in ‘Last Night in Soho’ as the centre of the universe, and the nostalgia for that time period fuels large parts of the movie. When Ellie finds herself having visions of the past, a darker side to this sunny nostalgia comes to light and she finds herself trapped in a nightmare.
I felt that overall, ‘Last Night in Soho’ is an interesting premise searching for a compelling narrative that it can never quite find. There’s an interesting through line about nostalgia tending to focus on the good elements and not the bad, but I felt it was gradually abandoned as the film started to revert to more traditional horror fare that does the initial premise a disservice. It’s very well acted, with Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy (as her 60s ‘doppelganger’) complimenting each other well, and it was nice to see the late Diana Rigg in her final onscreen appearance. As with most Edgar Wright films, it looks fabulous and has a brilliant soundtrack (fitting for the era), but I felt the writing let it down and it runs out of steam towards the end. It ultimately plays out quite predictably, but it’s certainly never boring and I had a good time watching it.
‘Last Night in Soho’ is a fun movie that takes the audience on a trip back in time to a vision of a different kind of London, and much of the best parts of the film centre on how Wright has recreated the look and feel of that time period. Plotwise it’s a bit all over the place and despite good performances it doesn’t really hang together as well as Wright and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns intended.
Directed By: Edgar Wright
Starring: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Michael Ajao, Terence Stamp, Diana Rigg, Sam Claflin, Rita Tushingham, Jessie Mei Li, Synnøve Karlsen, Margaret Nolan, Michael Jibson, Lisa McGrillis and Pauline McLynn