Film Review – Last Night in Soho (2021)

Title – Last Night in Soho (2021) 

Director – Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz) 

Cast – Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg, Michael Ajao, Terence Stamp 

Plot – Moving from the country to London to pursue her dream career in fashion, Eloise (McKenzie) begins to experience vivid dreams/memories set in the 1960’s where the beautiful and upcoming entertainer Sandie (Taylor-Joy) and her volatile manager/boyfriend Jack (Smith) live out a tumultuous relationship.  

“Do you believe in ghosts?” 

Review by Eddie on 19/11/2021

His conquered the living dead with nothing more than unwanted vinyl records, alien invaders in small country towns and even managed to wrangle baby drivers but there’s no doubt Last Night in Soho is beloved British director and critical darling Edgar Wright’s most ambitious film yet and a film that doesn’t always reach the lofty goals it sets for itself even if its a beautifully shot and unique thriller mixed with horror elements.

His first film narrative feature film since Baby Driver in 2017, Soho is undoubtedly a labor of love for Wright who produces his most un-Wright feeling film yet, that follows Thomasin McKenzie’s country girl fashion designer to London, where her rental of a small bedroom apartment leads her to experience vivid and increasingly frightening visions into the life of a seemingly real London resident of the 60’s named Sandie (a mesmerizing Anya Taylor-Joy) creating a very late 60’s/70’s feeling feature that struggles to keep itself on the rails as the runtime wears on.

Magnificently capturing the time and place of the London era of the setting with help from Old Boy and Handmaiden cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung (delivering Oscar worthy work) and some eclectic and toe tapping concoction of classic tunes from the era that once more suggests Wright is right up there with Quentin Tarantino when it comes to sound-tracking his films and particular scenes, Soho has a lot to admire and for its first 30 to 40 minutes things rollick along at a great pace with a lot of intrigue in what’s happening and what’s around the corner but the film does get into a mid to late section funk that becomes both repetitive and a little too much to handle narrative wise. 

You can see what Wright was trying too do and how he wanted his film to evolve but that doesn’t excuse the loop we end up getting stuck in and the sometimes questionable choices that Eloise makes (with some added overacting by a trying hard but not always hitting the mark McKenzie) and while visually and atheistically everything is always of a very high standard, there’s a coldness to the story of Soho and it never quite works as well as you’d like as a mystery or a fully fledged horror that it at times appears to be wanting to be. 

In amongst all of the narrative let downs and feeling that it never quite hits the marks it sets for itself is the continued great work of Taylor-Joy whose growing into one of the most interesting actors working today, a fairly chilling performance from the usually likable Matt Smith and a central plot that at the very least doesn’t play things out in the usual schtick, making Soho far from a complete misfire but nothing more than an intriguing could’ve been film that I am sure Wright and his fanbase will look back on in days to come as a missed opportunity to create something spectacular. 

Final Say – 

A film that sets itself a tricky task its never fully able to handle, Last Night in Soho is a high quality feature that can’t ever quite juggle its various elements into a final product that feels worthy of its goals. 

3 Vesper’s out of 5  

5 responses to “Film Review – Last Night in Soho (2021)

  1. Another good one, Eddie! Yeah, I really liked a lot of it, but I found it got a bit lost in that finale – and they overdid those ‘ghostmen’ – which made it feel a bit more Dr Who than Edgar. However, lots of good ideas and I really liked everyone involved, and it does look incredible, but I also saw the twists coming a mile off…

    HOWEVER! Will revisit I think, see if I enjoy it more the second time around. I had that with The World’s End, which felt a bit disjointed (and kinda is) but more fun on repeat viewings.

    • The film does have a lot to like I just felt narratively it felt a bit flat and the last act was really poorly done.

      I always am interested in what Wright is up too but this one felt like a missed opportunity.

  2. I got around to watching this film in the last week and am so glad I’m not alone in feeling let down. I’ve seen it twice on DVD now and *still* don’t know if I like it or not. I like that you noted “a coldness to the story”…perhaps that is why I felt nothing in that first viewing.

    • On reflection with this to, it really goes off the rails more and more as the run time goes on.
      Initially its all very interesting and offers a lot of potential but almost feels as if Wright didn’t know where to take this one.

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