Last Night In Soho Film Review

Published in Movies and TV News  
'Last Night In Soho' 'Last Night In Soho' Image © 2021 Focus Features LLC. All Rights Reserved

‘Last Night In Soho’ stays true to its word, a thriller that chills and parcels out thoughtfully the clues and red herrings that lead to the heart of its central tragic mystery.

The more you recall in the wake of its finale, the more impact earlier scenes have.

Beginning in a very grounded way, we meet Eloise ‘Ellie’ Turner as she leaves for London with big hopes to be a fashion design student and to forget some sad memories from the past. As soon as she reaches the metropolis, she receives thinly-veiled harassment from men and cruel treatment from her fellow students.

Ellie has a nostalgia for the bygone era of the 1960s and that desire to escape into the past will become real for her when she dreams, she is following around a young woman (Anya Taylor-Joy) in Swinging London. Is Ellie suffering some kind of mental breakdown? Is she being haunted? Or something else? As the movie gives way to more and more fantastical elements, all options remain on the table.

Thomasin McKenzie who made such an impression in ‘Jojo Rabbit’ steps up to the plate in the lead role, having to convey bottled anguish as she tries to keep up appearances while coming apart at the seams. Thomasin handily carries the film, but is ably assisted by Anya, Michael Ajao, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, and the late great Diana Rigg.

When the trailer for ‘Last Night In Soho’ dropped, it gathered a lot of buzz immediately for its lush colours, unsettling mood, and iconic music. Directed by Edgar Wright, the film itself is just as beautiful, with on-location photography that captures the hustle and bustle of modern London and strongly-lit nightscapes that make 1960s London appear as some kind of fever dream that slowly turns into a nightmare.

There is some commentary here on how nostalgia clouds the realities of all moments in time where bad things happened to good people. There is also a metaphor about how Ellie has to stop living in the past in order to move on with her life. If there is a criticism of the film, it is that Ellie, in a way, is really making peace with somebody else’s past rather than her own, and some of the misdirects to keep us guessing ultimately feel like missed opportunities.

Yet there is a compelling mystery here with a satisfying resolution, a thriller that is both gripping and horrifying and a character drama that is engaging and convincing. Finally, as a trip through the red-light district of a city that remains but constantly recycles, it shows you a Swinging London that for once you are happy to see the final page swung closed on.

‘Last Night In Soho’ opens in cinemas 18 November.



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