MOVIE REVIEW: “Last Night in Soho” stars Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit, Old), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Northman, Split ), Matt Smith (Doctor Who [TV series], The Crown [TV series]), Diana Rigg (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Game of Thrones [TV series]), Michael Ajao (Attack the Block, Cuffs [TV mini-series]), Synnove Karlsen (Medici [TV series], Clique [TV series]), and Terence Stamp (The Limey, The Adjustment Bureau). It is directed by Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver), who wrote it with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917, Penny Dreadful [TV series]).
A fashion designer student (McKenzie) in London finds herself in the body of a singer (Taylor-Joy) in the 1960s when she goes to sleep at night.
1960s music, London, thriller genre. Count me in.
“Last Night in Soho,” Edgar Wright’s latest narrative work, takes psychological thriller to the next level in a story about a fashion designer who travels back in time every night to the 1960s. It’s a tale of evil people, both men and women, who use their societal power to their advantage. And man oh man, do things get trippy.
This film is Wright’s most different. At least to me, a guy who has only seen two other movies of his (that being “Hot Fuzz” and “Baby Driver”). The subject matter is a far cry, dipping into a world that we haven’t seen much of (the fashion realm) in a genre that looks to throw you for a spin. It’s quite original, from style to substance, and Wright must be commended on his knack for vivid, visual storytelling. His wonderful, 1960’s music choices entwined with the beautiful cinematography and production design make this movie pop. Like all Wright features, there is no shortage of visual spectacle here. No shortage of talented performers, either.
Thomasin McKenzie of “Jojo Rabbit” leads the charge of this cast, portraying a small, soft-spoken modern woman trying to find her place in this world as a fashion designer. Her backstory is a sad one, as is her life when she becomes a design student. The girls in her class make fun of her, and most men seem to want to take advantage of her. Little enjoyment is to be had in her program, and it’s only when she goes to sleep in a new (yet old) apartment that she gets to live the wild life of a 1960’s singer looking to make her mark. This singer is played terrifically by Anya Taylor-Joy, one of the better actresses to come out of the wood work in this younger generation. The two of them compliment each other well, and as we explore the life of Taylor-Joy’s character, the more we realize just how screwed up it is (even more so than McKenzie’s).
Folks… this is a bonkers movie. It’s a rabbit hole of disgust, anxiety, and thrills that can be rather unrelenting. Particularly toward the third act when crap hits the fan. I enjoyed the mystery of it all, if you are to call it that. The story can be misleading and will sneak in a few suprises here and there. However, the execution of said surprises could’ve been handled a bit better. Our big revelation comes toward the very end, adding another layer to this already spaghetti storyline. It certainly turns the movie on its head – and I liked it for being different (as this could have easily been a piece on how trashy men of power can be, which… no duh) – but in cramming it in the last ten minutes, it made things rather lopsided. There’s a lot going into this film, yet it was only in sprinkled moments where I was truly engaged or riveted.
“Last Night in Soho” isn’t my favorite Wright flick, but it is different, and I give it props for that. The performances are wonderful, as are the visuals and style (Wright knows how to pick music and a setting). Really, it’s in the story where things begin to waver. I would’ve loved the piece to be set solely in the 60’s, but c’est la vie. It’s not a bad movie, nor is it the greatest. It’s original enough to recommend, though the end result could leave you mixed. FINAL SCORE: 79%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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