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Last Night in Soho (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (2021)

Last Night in Soho

Starring Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, Michael Ajao, Diana Rigg, Rita Tushingham, Jessie Mei Li, Synnøve Karlsen, Margaret Nolan, Lisa McGrillis, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Elizabeth Berrington, Rebecca Harrod, Pauline McLynn, Beth Singh, Alan Mahon, Paul Brightwell, Jacqui-Lee Pryce, Al Roberts and Terence Frisch.

Screenplay by Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns.

Directed by Edgar Wright.

Distributed by Focus Features. 116 minutes. Rated R.

Edgar Wright is an amazing stylist as a film maker. Last Night in Soho looks spectacular. It captures the look and the feel of swinging London in the 1960s amazingly. It is a world of gorgeous birds, shifty blokes, mod music, smokey bars, classic cars, flashing lights and sudden danger.

The movie has a real grabber of a concept. In the modern day, Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) a young British design major – who may have some psychic powers and has a family history of mental problems – goes to university in London. Ellie moves into an old flat and starts having dreams of going back to the late 1960s. Her “guide” to the past life is Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a stunning young doe-eyed ingenue who is trying to make it as a singer in swinging London.

At first, Ellie loves the mental time travelling, however quickly the dark side of the time and situation start to intrude, with drugs, prostitution, violence and subjugation all becoming increasingly common in the woman’s life. Then one night, Ellie dreams that the woman was murdered.

In the meantime, in the waking world, Ellie is seeing lots of places and things that were in her visions. Ellie begins obsessively trying to figure out if Sandie was real, and if so, what happened to her, if she was really killed. And Ellie is being followed by these strange men with empty, constantly shifting faces – first in her dreams and then in the real world.

It’s a great idea. Too bad the film’s ending doesn’t quite live up to the potential. It’s still a cool film, but the whole mystery ends up coming a bit off the rails. Plus, some of the social commentary is a bit heavy-handed.

But man, Last Night in Soho sets the mood well and it’s a whole lot of fun.

Plus, adding to its 1960s bonafides, Last Night in Soho features the last performance by the late, great Diana Rigg as the landlady of Ellie’s new flat.

This is the first time that Wright has done what can be considered a straight horror film – although earlier films like Shaun of the Dead were parodies of the form which straddled the line between humor and horror. Honestly, the horror aspects of Last Night in Soho are some of the weaker parts of the film.

The fantasy time-travel aspects are better, and the film truly takes off in the 1960s pastiches. The wardrobe, the soundtrack, the styles – all are note perfect. Last Night in Soho is worth watching for these things alone.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2021 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 29, 2021.

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