REVIEW: ‘Last Night in Soho’ has stunning visuals backed by subpar script | Culture
“Last Night in Soho”, while visually impressive with fantastic direction behind it, lacks a compelling storyline. Despite a catalog of amazing films, English director Edgar Wright disappoints with his latest film.
“Last Night in Soho” is the latest film from Wright, the acclaimed director of The Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “Baby Driver.” Wright, along with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, wrote the film, and it stars Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy. The film follows Eloise (McKenzie), an aspiring small-town fashion designer who leaves the countryside to attend the University of the Arts in London. At night, she finds herself mysteriously able to slip into the dazzling world of 1960s Soho, where she comes into contact with Sandie (Taylor-Joy), an aspiring singer. Slowly, the dark underbelly of show business begins to reveal itself, with terrifying consequences for Eloise and Sandie.
There were a few particularly standout aspects about “Last Night in Soho,” the most prevalent being the cinematography, courtesy of Chung-hoon Chung. I’ve always been a fan of his work, and this movie is no exception. His eye for framing and color is incredibly apparent, and as such this film is a treat to watch. The staging of the scenes adds to the visual flair, with a number of impressively choreographed moments where one actor switches places with another but ducks slightly out of frame or disappears behind an object, obscuring the audience’s view.
I also generally liked the acting in this film. McKenzie does a great job of attracting a sheepish girl moving to a big city, and Taylor-Joy’s seductive confidence is a brilliant counterpoint to that. I was initially concerned that Matt Smith, best known for his role as the Eleventh Doctor, would balk at the pressure of typography as a goofy and lovable character, but I was proven wrong by his incredibly intimidating, and sometimes even frightening, performance. . .
As good as some of the outward presentation of “Last Night in Soho” is, there’s one giant, glaring problem with the whole thing. Namely that the screenplay, the very writing of the film, sucks. The movie attempts to be a horror mystery, but it completely falls on its face either way. The horror elements of this movie, like the gray ghosts, were incredibly lame, and the mystery elements were downright laughable due to the predictability of every mystery in this movie. If you have even the most basic understanding of storytelling, I guarantee you’ll pick up on every red herring the movie tries to throw at you and predict the big reveal about the movie’s main villain.
Beyond the mediocre script, the biggest disappointment for me was that Wright’s name was attached to the project in the first place. His slate of films before this one is universally high and frenetic, but “Last Night in Soho” feels like anyone could have done it. Those previous movies have incredible editing and pacing with brilliant bits of re-enactment, and this movie lacks most of that. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be allowed to experiment, but I’m saying “Last Night in Soho” doesn’t play to Wright’s strengths as a writer or director. To me, that’s the biggest crime in film, especially from a director whose flair and style I generally like.
In conclusion, despite some stunning visual presentation elements, “Last Night in Soho” ultimately feels forgettable. I’d give it a 5/10, and recommend that instead of watching this you watch any of Wright’s other films, especially The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy consisting of “Shaun of the Dead”, “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End”. .” All three are fantastic and entertaining films that, despite their rather comedic tone, are still great horror, action, and sci-fi films, respectively.