Film Reviews

Last Night in Soho review: Dir. Edgar Wright (2021)

Nostalgia is a double-edged sword in Last Night in Soho – the latest from director Edgar Wright, best known for Baby Driver and the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. The film follows Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), an aspiring fashion designer who journeys back to 1965 where she finds herself strangely connected with the life of Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), who is trying to build a career as a successful singer in the clubs of Soho. As Sandie’s life begins to spiral, her connection with Eloise sends the latter into a desperate search to discover exactly what happened over fifty years ago. The past can’t remain a distant memory if you keep returning to it…

Last Night in Soho is probably the least quintessentially Edgar Wright-esque picture in the director’s filmography – not as snappy as Baby Driver, more serious than his comedy outings and less quirky than Scott Pilgrim vs the World, but filled with his passion for music, pacing and attention to detail. It was only towards the end of the film that I started to really appreciate just how intricate the plotting was, all the set-ups and pay-offs that earn a re-watch almost instantly. Wright’s use of sound design has always been a key component to his films, and Last Night in Soho is no different; the screening I attended was accompanied by a Q&A, including contributions from composer Steven Price and editor Paul Machliss, who both reiterated the importance of sound in constructing the mood and pace of the film. Unlike in his other directorial outings, shots are more free-flowing – never overlong, but not nearly as fast and punchy as I would have expected. The film of course looks gorgeous, filled with vibrant colours and dynamic camerawork from Chung-hoon Chung, and together with the period costumes and production design really showcases the talent on display in every single frame.

Thomasin McKenzie is utterly brilliant as Eloise, endearing and naïve, and never defined by her more eccentric qualities. She’s an incredibly talented actress, and really manages to go through the whole gamut of emotions in a character that’s tough to pin down but feels quite real – whether it be the feeling of detachment from her classmates at the fashion school or her passion for the 60’s. The way the film cuts between shots of her and Anya Taylor-Joy’s Sandie is seamless (with my favourite trick easily being the shots of one in the foreground and the other reflected in mirrors). Taylor-Joy herself is wonderfully charismatic – and as it turns out, has a terrific singing voice – while Matt Smith gets a chance to play a role completely removed from Doctor Who. It’s hard to know what to say without spoiling some of the film’s twists and turns, but the three main leads are all fantastic, as are supporting turns from the late Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp, Michael Ajao and Rita Tushingham.

If there’s issues with the film, it’s with the more spoiler-y elements: some audience members may see the big twists coming from a mile away, while the more fantastical elements of the story are left (purposefully) unexplained in a way that may frustrate some, but I was so swept-up in the ride that these aspects really didn’t bother me too much.

Last Night in Soho is yet another great time at the movies from Edgar Wright – an engaging story, wonderful visuals (the location work really adds some verisimilitude) and a terrific sound design: a complete package. There are even a few scary bits too…

Last Night in Soho is released in cinemas on 29th October 2021.


9 thoughts on “Last Night in Soho review: Dir. Edgar Wright (2021)

  1. Good review. I just recently saw the trailer for this movie when I went to go see Halloween Kills. Looks quite interesting. After reading your review….I might have to go check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Last Night in Soho – Info for Blu-ray, DVD and 4K UHD release this Jan 2022 | critical popcorn

  3. Pingback: Win Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho on Blu-ray! | critical popcorn

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