Edgar Wright is one of the more visually stimulating directors of the 21st century. His work on comedies like The Cornetto Trilogy, 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World' and even 'Baby Driver' are taught in film schools across the world. His visual language is distantly unique - but 'Last Night in Soho' showcases Wright in a new genre: the thriller.
'Last Night in Soho' sees aspiring fashioning designer, Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie, 'Jojo Rabbit', 'Old'), move to London to attend college. She's having a hard time and moves out of her dorm room and in with Miss Collins (Diana Rigg, 'Breathe', 'On Her Majesty's Secret Sevice'), who has a much more 60s-inspired living space. Eloise is 60s-obsessed, and her dreams of living in the past start to come true as when she goes to sleep, she is transported back and is mysteriously able to live the life of Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy, 'Emma.', 'Split'), a wannabe singer. But her trip to past isn't all peace signs and vinyls - these dreams contain some dark secrets and could be the key to solving mysteries of the past.
As with any film set in the past, there is a deliciousness with just experiencing another era, and 'Last Night in Soho' oozes with stunning costuming and set design. They do a fantastic job of transporting you back, and having an actor like Anya Taylor-Joy who's just timeless really enhances that experience. As always, Taylor-Joy is incredible, and thank god we get to hear her sing again here because she knocks it out of the park... and we couldn't let 'Playmobil: The Movie' be the only time she performed on-screen.
The film definitely feels like a departure from Wright's typical cinematography-heavy style, relying more on not only set design but the script. Knowing it's a Wright film, it does feel like they could have pushed some visual elements a little further. The script is also top-heavy, with the first act being incredibly drawn out, setting up Eloise at fashion school and bringing in the bullies, which all really fizzles out once the dream element comes in. The film also bounces around between tones and genres. You have this college drama film that also deals with family relationships, which moves into the 60s fantasy that turns into a thriller with campy horror elements thrown in towards the end. If the film streamlined itself, it could have really been a knockout - which is not to say that the film is a letdown; it's just a tamer visual outing for Wright.
There is a deliciousness with just experiencing another era, and 'Last Night in Soho' oozes with stunning costuming and set design. They do a fantastic job of transporting you back, and having an actor like Anya Taylor-Joy who's just timeless really enhances that experience.
Between Anya Taylor-Joy and the 1960s, you can't go wrong, but some elements could have used some streamlining and added visual flairs would have been a solid nod to the director's past work. Still, 'Last Night is Soho' is a glamorous, intriguing thriller that captures you thanks to its aesthetics.