British Film Fest ’21: LAST NIGHT IN SOHO [2021]

Last Night In Soho is surely one of the most anticipated films of this festival, given baby’s Driver’s immense popularity and the fact it started screening in the US last month, before this festival had kicked off. The screening I was a part of was certainly sold out.

This unique addition to the horror genre is arguably Edgar Wright’s most ambitious film to date, drawing on numerous influences to create a thoroughly unique, unsettling experience that is so realistic it can be interpreted in countless ways, especially among different age groups. It follows young hopeful Elly (Thomasin McKenzie) who is moving to London to study fashion, against her grandmother’s advice of the big busy city. Leaving behind a bedroom filled with classic records and film posters, it’s clear that her connection to the 1960’s is deep

After finding new accommodation, Elly falls asleep only to wake as a different woman in a different era. In a meticulously directed scene, Elly looks in the mirror and sees the beautiful, colourful reflection of Anna Taylor-Joy’s Sandy, a  confident blonde knock-out who wants be a part of 1960’s Soho. Both mirror the other perfectly in a hypnotic sequence that introduces Wright’s unique twist to events that are already surreal: Elly becomes a spectator, watching Sandy from mirrors in awe as she sees a woman she wishes she could be. At other times though, she seems to be in control of Sandy. The dreams prompt a makeover of sorts for Elly’s current self as she enjoys the bizarre experiences so much that she doesn’t question any part of it.

It soon becomes clear that both Sandy and the unique use of mirrors are linked to Elly’s unhealthy obsession to a past era she never lived through. Attitudes like ‘back in the good ol’ days’ are figments of our imagination as our brain romanticises the past – Wright uses this fact and his own experiences when arriving in London for the first time to explore the darker sides of 60’s Soho, creating a realistic emotional core that enhances everything surrounding it.

Taking cues from Baby Driver, Wright effortlessly synchronises sound effects and music with what’s on screen. The 60’s scenes all use a psychedelic, technicolour-style palette in contrast to the dull depiction of current-day London. As Elly’s visions of the 60’s begin to invade her current-day life, the colours follow in an aggressive manner. Nightmarish sequences amplify in intensity as a result and parallel to this is a fading line between past and present, reality and fantasy.

Last Night in Soho sits alongside Get Out (2016, Jordan Peele) and Hereditary (2018, Ari Aster) as a horror film that continues the revival of the genre. Creatively though, it surpasses both: having satirised horror movie clichés himself in Shaun of the Dead (2004), Wright knew exactly what to avoid. There are no jump scares to be found here as the final act combines the colourful, stylish presentation of Italian giallo with Kafka-like dream logic to finish an emotionally engaging film whose international debut received a standing applause.

2 Comments on “British Film Fest ’21: LAST NIGHT IN SOHO [2021]

  1. Great to see you’re back buddy — I’ve been itching to get to this one but it looks like I probably won’t be able to since I’m a poor, broke ass bitch. I will catch up with it at some point as Edgar Wright can do no Wrong. Lol that was a pretty shitfuck pun


    • thanks mate, much appreciated! I dropped on of my epilepsy meds and feel heaps sharper, I hope to get back to the good ol days where I was posting several times a month, every month.

      Hahaha bad puns are funny.

      I was surprised how much I liked this movie cus apart from Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, I’m not a Wright fan. I despised Baby Driver too, making this even more surprising. The ending is like Rosemary’s baby crossed with Gaspar Noe psychedelic insanity. Technically, its better than mother! in so many ways, the syncing of colours/images to music is astounding, far better than baby driver too cos while the music powered that movie and represented the main character, in Soho all sound and all images are one. Save up any way you can man, this thing is top shit, especially if you’re al;ready a fan of Wright.

      I was amazed, the complete lack of a pointless romantic side-plot is awesome too- that was the worst part of Baby Driver so I’m glad he avoided it almost entirely. If there’s any romance its the younger girl seeing this 60s chick in her dreams and wishing she was her. Its such a trip!

      I was lucky seeing it, I got some tickets for the British Film Festival running atm. As for Soho, it just opened for public release today. Gotta love staggered release schedules! If you’re a fan of British films I’ll be posting at least five reviews from the fest, I want to go back to my old old routine from 2015-2017, which was basically averaging a post every third day. Its a satisfying feeling, but I’m sure you’ve fell into the same trap as I have many a time – putting pressure on yourself to post more often than your mood or schedule really allows for, then beating yourself up about it. I just gotta be mindful of that attitude creeping into my head

      Gah sorry, I need to learn to self-censor. Ah well its been ages eh? Hope ur well


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