Edgar Wright returns with his latest narrative feature Last Night In Soho, continuing its festival run at London Film Festival before its general release at the end of October. What is a delectable sensory feast, a lovingly fuelled nightmarish dream, filled to the brim with some killer central performances, unfortunately Last Night In Soho can’t be saved by some third act narrative, and pacing issues.
Written by Alex Gilston
Baby Driver (2016) feels less like five years ago and more like an absolute lifetime away, but Edgar Wright is finally back in the directing chair with his narrative film Last Night In Soho. It follows aspiring fashion designer Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), who moves from her rural hometown in Cornwall to the polar opposite hustle and bustle of Soho in London to study at fashion college. When she moves into a mysterious apartment her dreams start to feel like reality with Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy) at the centre of it all. As the walls between reality and dream become more and more blurred, Eloise tries to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
As you come to expect with an Edgar Wright film it looks and sounds stunning. Soho is captured with pure splendour by Chung-hoon Chung. The almost claustrophobic feel of modern London is juxtaposed beautifully by the 60s setting of the dream sequences. This is a landscape dripping in neon that’s so enticing, you’d be forgiven for overlooking its muddy interior. Steven Price’s score follows the usual horror guidelines and helps keep the tension afloat in scenes where it really matters. The 60s soundtrack bolsters Last Night in Soho up throughout its 120 minute run time. Especially Anya Taylor-Joy’s rendition of Downtown which, especially in the context of the film, is pretty magnificent. Above all of the horror and the disgust Last Night in Soho manages to be a real celebration of the art, fashion, music, and culture of one of the most significant decades of the last 100 years, and for that it should be applauded.
Where it unfortunately falters is the overall narrative. Don’t go into Last Night in Soho expecting a full whip around of Edgar Wright’s signature snappy style, the story takes quite some time to get going which in the first half of the film is promising enough to keep you intrigued but when it comes to the proof of the pudding, the final act which feels like it should be explosive is reduced to an expositional chat over tea. The cake might look beautiful but at the end of the day when you cut into it, it was just a bit too dry. To reveal anymore about the plot would spoil it, but it remains to be said that a wider conversation about the ending of this film can and should be had.
Last Night in Soho boasts some great performances, from new acting blood to iconic legends alike. Thomasin McKenzie has proved herself as leading actor material at the head of this, and Anya Taylor-Joy’s integral role looks easy on her. A true highlight however was, what is now, legend Dame Diana Rigg’s final performance, a fitting role for the larger than life actress.
Although Last Night In Soho is a treat visually, the first two acts promise more beyond what we as an audience receive, and it hinders the overall experience. This film is unlike anything Edgar Wright has done before and it leaves for a mixed bag where you’d have hoped it’d be nothing but positive.