Edgar Wright is a remarkable filmmaker. His movies are not of high quality, it's also that he is a dedicated filmmaker who tells new types of stories each time. He uses bold and innovative techniques to make his films. Every project brings out the best in people and is different.
These are all things that Wright's fans have known for many years now – but there has been even more reason to be excited for what he would do next in the wake of 2017's Baby Driver: his first bona fide box office hit. He was given the opportunity to use all of his resources and freedom. What did he do? Last Night In Soho, though flawed, provides the answer. It is full of passion, spirit, and success in becoming one of the director's most ambitious and successful films.
Last Night In Soho was co-written and produced by Edgar Wright. Krysty Wilson–Cairns (1917) is the director. Last Night In Soho opens with Eloise Turner, a young actress played by Thomasin McKenzie. She receives potentially life-changing information that she has been admitted to London's Fashion School. She has big dreams about being a designer, and acceptance puts her on that path – though her grandmother (Rita Tushingham) has concerns about her living in the city given that she is a sensitive person and has a history with mental health issues.
Eloise's own anticipation for the experience is hampered when she arrives on the campus and almost instantly finds herself wilting around her roommate, Jocasta (Synnøve Karlsen), who is very much of the "mean girl" brand. Jocasta's introverted personality conflicts with Eloise's, so the protagonist decides to search for somewhere off-campus. She is successful when she finds a room to rent at a charming, but hardworking, Ms. Collins. She forbids smoking, boys, and night laundry, and demands two month's rent and a two month deposit – but the innocent teenager is a model tenant.
Eloise experiences vivid dreams while in this room. Her mind takes her back in time to Soho in 1960s. She sees the world from the perspective of Sandie Taylor Joy, a teenage girl with dreams to be a singer. Already obsessed with the era thanks to influence from her deceased mother, Eloise is utterly enchanted by the literal woman of her dreams, and starts to take great inspiration from her in her waking life – but as the visions of Sandie take a darker turn, the fashion student finds her nightmares becoming reality.
Edgar Wright is clearly a fan of comedy, action and science-fiction. As you can see in his work, there are many horror elements. Last Night In Soho shows Wright's passion for the genre. He blends details from across the spectrum – from Italian giallo to Stephen King – and pulls off excellent visual scares where your emotional reaction in large part comes from your appreciation of the characters.
This movie is packed full of surprises. The plotting is mystery-driven. Don't allow anyone to spoil your ending. As you won't be left expecting anything extraordinary or genre-changing, it's best not to expect the ending. But, when it pulls the trigger, the movie-goer is still in for an amazing treat.
Technical wizardry is only a bonus to the movie's story. A sequence where Sandie moves through a club in one shot is the real highlight. Eloise plays her mirror and sometimes even swaps places with Sandie. This effect is so incredible that you may be taken out of the movie to ponder how it works, but the mental break you get from what the cinematographers have achieved is worth it.
It's not work that is quite on the level of the music-synchronized genius of Baby Driver, as the scope of the ambition in the effort just isn't the same – but it makes Last Night In Soho no less impressive to behold. Like all Edgar Wright films, this movie is bound to be even more stunning as it's viewed again. Because you will see the whole film, the details won't be obvious, and the filmmakers eye for detail will only get better.
In addition to all of the other aspects of Last Night In Soho that differentiate it from Edgar Wright's previous work, the film also marks the first time that he has worked without a male lead character, and that proves absolutely no obstacle – as the story is not only able to realistically and effectively utilize themes that come directing from the female perspective, but it features two remarkable turns from Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy.
Both actors are brilliant in their portrayals of perfectly different personalities. Anya Taylor Joy, who plays Sandie, is once more a dazzling "born for stardom" actor. Eloise is equally as impressed by Taylor Joy's performance as Sandie. McKenzie is the hero, inspired by her ambitions to be bolder in her outlook, personality, and things only get more frightening as the story progresses into the horrifying horror.
While it's typically a bummer when Halloween lands on a Sunday, it's advantageous for Last Night In Soho, as it's a film to check out on opening night, and then immediately go and see again during the holiday – enhancing your appreciation of everything it has to offer. Edgar Wright is a great talent and it's another huge moment for him.
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