Last Night in Soho

I missed the first ten minutes or so of this movie. I had picked two films, Antlers and Last Night in Soho, and they were right up against one another so that, as soon as Antlers was finished, I would have been coming into Last Night in Soho with the trailers done. I was pushing the timing. Then, the power went out in the theater I was watching Antlers in.

I actually think the whole side of the Cinemark building went out. It was not really power because we had lights, but the film stopped playing, which was going to screw with the timeline I had so carefully planned out. I do not think I missed too much, but the film was definitely under way when I rushed into the theater.

From that point on, I was enthralled with the latest Edgar Wright film. It was not what I would call a common Edgar Wright film. I believe he absolutely pushed himself, taking a big swing with this horror/thriller/mystery combo film which hit much more than it missed.

Aspiring fashion student Eloise (aka Elle) (Thomasin McKenzie) moved to London to pursue her career, but she found the city to be unkind. Needed to move out of her apartment because of a party-hardy roommate, Elle found a room for rent in an old building owned by landlady Ms. Collins (Diana Rigg). Everything seemed to be working out great for Elle at first, and then something strange happened. When she went to sleep, Elle found herself sharing a body with a beautiful blonde singer named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy) who was looking to become a success in the mid 1960s.

Unfortunately, success was not finding Sandie as she hooked up with an “agent” Jack (Matt Smith) who wound up pimping her out as a way of opening up opportunities. Elle became more frightened for Sandie, and, when she saw a vision of Sandie’s supposed death, Elle became unhinged, appearing to be losing grasp on reality.

The performances of Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy were excellent and carried this movie. These two women did a magnificent job working together and there were plenty of moments where the scenes were shot so brilliantly that it seemed as if the two actresses were exchanging positions. In is a beautiful example of movie magic that helps creates a wonderful narrative.

The film is remarkably stylish, especially the time travel back to the 1960s. The imagery of the film stands out as much as any character in the movie does.

The music is so important to the film’s narrative as well and is filled with some amazing period music. Edgar Wright does as well including music in his movies as any other director working today (right up there with James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films).

I disliked the inclusion of a group of “mean girls” in the fashion class that Elle was in. This felt so cliché and unoriginal considering how much the rest of the film was avoiding the clichés. These snarling faced young women were just a weak link in an otherwise strong group of characters.

Some of the narrative structure of the third act breaks down a bit, but it does not do enough to derail what had been an enjoyable film. The twist at the end works somewhat, but I can understand if people believe that it weakens the film. It did not bother me much.

Original and creative, Edgar Wright absolutely tried for something new and he, mostly, succeeded.

3.6 stars

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