Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Last Night in Soho - Movie Review

The Review: Last Night in Soho

The Director: Edgar Wright

The Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, Diana Rigg, Rita Tushingham, Michael Ajao, Synnove Karlsen

The Story:  An aspiring fashion designer, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer, Sandie. But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something far darker.

The Review:
I'll start by saying this movie is stunning to look at with a 60's stylization that is bold, lush, and filled with color while equally providing a dark and downright frightening backdrop for some of the more sinister moments of the story. If Edgar Wright went all in and turned his career down the deep, dark recesses of the horror genre, I doubt if anyone would have any complaints. While this movie is not predominantly a horror movie, there are moments that are as scary or scarier than just about anything from any horror movie I've watched this year. 

The movie overall is not an easy one to label or categorize because it's a lot of different things all at once and mostly in the best ways possible. It's a drama, it's a comedy, it's sort of a period piece, it's a thriller, it has elements of a musical, and of course the aforementioned horror aspect is well represented and Wright blends it all seamlessly alongside some fantastic performances from pretty much everyone involved. If you don't know yet who Thomasin McKenzie is you soon will as she she has been building a resume with films like Leave No Trace, Jojo Rabbit, and Old and now takes center stage in this movie in a very big way.

When your movie also includes the names Matt Smith and Anya Taylor-Joy on the marquee, you know you're doing things right and the dynamic duo does not disappoint. I think Taylor-Joy now falls into the category of being one of the most recognizable actors working today and she has earned that by turning in amazing performances time and time again with this movie being no exception. The director takes full advantage of her abilities and captures her screen presence in some very iconic ways that are just gorgeous to look at. Smith is great, too but this movie is all about the two ladies and how their stories intertwine.

Now I get to the part where it becomes difficult to critique a film because the number one issue I have with it involves the major reveals and plot twists that come at the film's conclusion. Let me just say that what I thought was the movie's primary theme was flipped on its head and ruined with a finish that diminishes what could have been a bold statement. The overall topic I'm talking about is the blatant and overt toxicity of men in positions of power and how they use that standing to manipulate, dehumanize, and control the women they come into contact with. The fact that the director ends the movie the way he does is very disappointing, is a huge missed opportunity to call out that type narrative as an allegory for Hollywood norms, and totally diminishes the experience women have within that world.

The Verdict:
Last Night in Soho is a beautifully stylized, genre bending cinematic experience that features some truly stellar acting performances from Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy. I just wish the twists and turns in the third act didn't diminish everything that led up to them.

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