Latest Review – Last Night In Soho (LFF 2021) (65th BFI London Film Festival)

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO

Dir. Edgar Wright

HEADLINE GALA

Writer and director Edgar Wright transports audiences back to the beating heart of the Swinging Sixties for this ambitious and inventive new time-travelling fantasy-horror-thriller set in London’s vibrant Soho.

Thomasin McKenzie stars as Eloise, a naive young 60s obsessive who is accepted into a major London fashion school and makes the move away from her quiet little home town in order to pursue her dreams in the big city. Struggling to cope with her rowdy and bitchy fellow students at the university halls, she quickly searches for a new place to live, and finds a perfect attic room with matriarchal landlady Miss Collins (Diana Rigg, in her final role).

On her first night in her new accommodation she finds herself transported back in time to the Soho of 1966 in the body of aspiring young night club singer Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy). Though initially fascinated by these strange new visions, things quickly begin to turn sinister as the nights go on, and suddenly Eloise begins to lose her grip on reality as the murky events of the past take their toll in the present. It would seem that things in the past were far from as glamorous and romantic as she first thought.

Last Night in Soho boasts an intriguing premise, a highly ambitious duel narrative and a strong cast, led by Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy and Matt Smith, and featuring a number of British cinema icons including Diana Rigg, Rita Tushingham and Terence Stamp.

It is a largely impressive psychological thriller and Wright and the cast clearly have great fun exploring the dark and nightmarish Giallo-inspired genre elements of the piece. That said, however, it can be a rather frustrating work that loses its way on occasion and blurs the lines a little too much, often to confusing and rather clumsy effect.

Nevertheless, there is a great deal to enjoy about the film. Set to a joyous 60s soundtrack, and nicely shot, Last Night in Soho is slick, stylish and a thrilling love letter to the Swinging Sixties, London and classic British Cinema.


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