Review – Last Night in Soho

Every time an Edgar Wright movie comes out it’s always that frisson. Well justified, we must remember, because the English director, just 47 years old, gave us some jewels throughout his career, such as: Todo Mundo Almost Dead (2004), best work he’s ever done; Scott Pilgrim against the World (2010); and, In Rhythm of Escape (2017).

His most current project had a little help from Quentin Tarantino, more specifically with the original title, in this case, ‘Last Night in Soho’.

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“In ‘Death Proof (2007)’, Quentin uses a song by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich called ‘Hold Tight,’” Wright said. “I was talking to him about that song and that band, and he said – ‘Have you heard the song ‘Last Night in Soho?’” He played the song for me and said – ‘This is the best title song for a movie that was never done’.

However, if we look deeper, we’ll see that there’s also a bit of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) in Last Night in Soho, as both projects go back in time to elevate a specific past period of two major cities in the world. Tarantino visited Los Angeles while Wright roamed the capital London.

Edgar Wright’s psychological thriller introduces us to Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), an aspiring fashion designer who is mysteriously able to step into the 1960s during her dreams, where she meets Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a stunning singer. However, the glamor isn’t all it seems and the dreams of the past begin to crack, fragmenting into something much darker and more terrifying.

There are two problems that can be found in the script written by Edgar Wright, together with Krysty Wilson-Cairns: first, an excess of narrative elements that play against each other, leaving the narrative adrift in many moments; and, second, a massacre by the repetitions that empty the material, which loses any reflexive possibility clearly intended by the filmmaker.

When people say that there are too many ingredients in this recipe, it is said about the loss of innocence in an unknown environment, the frenetic and overloaded life in a big city, depression and schizophrenia, female bullying, competitiveness in the haute couture, idealization from the past, supernatural abilities, among other things.

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All of this in a plot of “psychological terror” that is incapable of frightening or tormenting us inside. Not even a slight shiver Last Night in Soho could provide.

There is no problem in mixing all these ideas and targeting a certain proposal with it, however, it was very noticeable that Wright did not know how to balance the parts, leaving a shallow atmosphere in general for his audience, who will easily be enchanted by the visual aspects and soundtracks proposed by the filmmaker, diverting attention from what is a faulty statement.

Even cinematically, we can say that Edgar Wright was bureaucratic most of the time, including some predictable transitions that tire quickly without any trace of enchantment, not even in the first part when Eloise, played forcefully by Thomasin McKenzie, plunges into the long-awaited London from the 1960s.

Not to mention the exhausting repetitions that infest the narrative, especially when the director seeks to practice genre cinema.

Despite so many messy technical setbacks, we see in Edgar Wright a good intention to demonstrate the terror that tears apart the female spirit: us men.

In Last Night in Soho we see the degree of deformation we have caused in so many women, from small toxic attitudes to the most disgusting actions.

Admittedly, the resolution of the story does better than the rest of the plot, especially for the performance of the recently deceased actress Diana Rigg (1938 – 2020); but also for seeking to unite the female community, embracing it through the horror experienced for decades and more decades, arriving in a still frightening reality where femicide was normalized by society in general.

Unfortunately, despite the English filmmaker’s good intentions, we can’t say that there is enough emotional impact to elevate the material in Last Night in Soho, which is more Nicolas Winding Refn’s Demon of Neon (2016) than The Invisible Man (2020 ) by Leigh Whannell. A feather.

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