I knew Last Night in Soho was a thriller. Well, I read that it was a drama/horror, but clearly that label wasn’t enough to prepare me for the disturbing, yet dazzling, trip that Edgar Wright took me on last night.
We already reviewed Last Night in Soho, so I’m going to avoid doing the same, but I do have one question: what the actual fk?
The cinematography is spectacular. The portrayal of the 60s is beautiful and I felt like I could taste the Rivoli bar and I was involved in the neon-laced love story. The film itself is, yep, dark, disturbing and dense. It’s not a film for someone looking to switch their brain off and just enjoy a few hours at the movies. It certainly isn’t one for someone who hates a jump scare, or even blood, for that matter.
I’m going to avoid giving away too many spoilers, but they’re going to happen. So here’s your warning: leave now if you don’t want your Last Night in Soho experience potentially ruined.
The first third of the movie is relatively horror-free. Country girl Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie) moves to the Big Smoke. In moving to London, we’re introduced to something supernatural, a sleazy cab driver and a bitchy school bully. This is around about when I commented to a friend that this isn’t exactly horror. Ho-boy. Then, Ellie is transported one night into the 60s in what we assume, at first, is just a dream. But instead of viewing the life of Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy) from the outside, we learn she becomes Sandie, somehow transcending the construct of time, with both lives operating simultaneously yet clearly 50-something years apart.
The first night in Soho is magical. So much so Ellie wakes the following morning with a revitalised energy and sense of purpose. But the next ‘dream’ is far from kind. This is where things get dark.
Ellie and Sandie’s lives blur. And one night, Ellie witnesses a murder. She goes after the man in present-day she believes to be behind the murder. We also have ghosts (or demon-like men) following Ellie, an intense amount of blood and visual of the absolutely awful things suffered by Sandie. And it’s all somewhat overwhelming and a tad ridiculous.
The conclusion isn’t actually a conclusion. We have some questions answered but not really the ones we wanted. I somewhat feel disrespected by the pretty little bow tied around the events that I’ve just witnessed. I wanted to know why she could transport, I wanted to know what happened to her mother – I wanted to know everything. In saying that, however, leaving so much unanswered was the reason I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I walked out of the cinema.
At first, I thought the horror was unnecessary (and I’m a horror fan), but as a drama on its own, I’d have been bored. Last Night in Soho needed the ‘shock’ factor. It needed to make me uncomfortable. And it needed to be a seedy 60s, dazzling supernatural film.
Edgar Wright definitely took notes from the Quentin Tarantino play book with this one – I know he stands on his own as a spectacular director, but Last Night in Soho is a departure from his prior works, for example Baby Driver.
I think it’s one of the most memorable movies I will ever see. Just don’t answer all of the questions I have by making a sequel. Leave me confused and unsure of how to explain this movie to someone who wants to see it. But see it, just know it’s heavy on the drama, heavy on the thriller and heavy on blending genres and completely blowing your mind.
Last Night in Soho hits cinemas in Australia on Thursday.