Last Night in Soho (2021)
Film: Sometimes I just want to watch a film, you know?
Every time we turn around, we hear the words ‘franchise’ or ‘three film deal’ when it comes to cinema. Sometimes… actually most times, I just want to sit down and watch A film. Not something that requires prior knowledge, a rewatch of six films or a YouTube explanation as to what has come before: occasionally… actually, mostly, I just want to watch a film.
Many months ago I saw the trailer for a film called Last Night in Soho, and I was pretty darn excited. First, written (along with Krystal Wilson-Cairns) and directed by Edgar Wright, whose Cornetto Trilogy rates pretty high in my favourite films (I know what I said about franchises but these are three separate films that have an ice cream as a common thread), and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, which is easily one of my favourite comic adaptations. That’s not to go without talking about his doco about the pop band The Sparks, which is a fascinating watch, especially for music lovers. Also, one of the stars of the film is my lockdown crush, Anya Taylor-Joy, who easily gave the most accurate portrayal of a Marvel character playing Magik, in The X-men spin-off The New Mutants, played Beth Harmon in the amazing The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix (I love both Walter Tevis’ writing and am an avid chess player, even though I suck at it) and was in the beautiful The VVitch: A New-England Folktale, as Thomasin.
Last Night in Soho tells of Eloise ‘Ellie’ Turner (Thomasin McKenzie), a young, aspiring fashion designer from country Cornwall who is accepted to go to a big fashion school in London. After a disastrous first night in the college’s dormitories with her room-mate, the unpleasant Jocasta (Synnøve Karlson), Ellie decides to rent an off-campus bedsit from Mrs Collins (Diana Rigg).
There’s something a little ‘special’ about Ellie though; she’s a touch ‘sensitive’… in the psychic way, like her mother was before she committed suicide… and every night when she goes to bed, she has time travelling flights-of-fancy where she finds herself transported into the body of Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), an aspiring actress who engages her career with the seemingly nice and suave Jack (Matt Smith), but Jack may be a lot less than what he seems, and Ellie starts to both ‘become’ Sandie, but also in intrigued by what happened to her, which surely must have been murder considering the sad path she was going down…
Ellie’s vision start intruding into her real life until she can barely tell them apart, but who can she turn to as her life rapidly seems to be crumbling, who is the strange older man (Terrance Stamp) that seems to be following her and how can her fashion education, and fledgling romance with John (Michael Ajao) …
I have to say I am totally in love with this film. It’s very much a giallo but told through modern eyes and technology, the cinematography and acting really are outstanding, the special effects are wonderful and all the tricks, both in and out of camera, will really make you wonder how it was done, and the soundtrack speaks to me like very few have before.
I honestly can’t recommend this movie enough. It appeals to my love of giallo, it’s visuals appeal to my love of 60s cinema, it’s an Edgar Wright film and it stars a whole bunch of actors that I really like, and a current crush.
Extras: A decent bunch of extras about the film that I actually think could have been edited together into a wonderful
Meet Eloise looks at the character and casting of the character of Eloise in the film. Wright, Wilson-Cairns, McKenzie, Taylor-Joy and other members of the cast and crew all discuss the creation of the character.
Dreaming of Sandie explores the creation of Sandie’s character, from Wright’s and Wilson-Cairn’s original idea down to the execution by Taylor-Joy.
Smoke and Mirrors takes us into the shifting between the 60s and now and how effects were used to execute the look of both eras and their intrusion into each other’s worlds.
On The Streets of Soho sees the actual Soho in London become a character in the film, and how the writing and direction did that.
Time Travelling enters the sixties via fashion and music which really makes the time travelling sequences quite exciting.
There are 6 Deleted Scenes, which I don’t miss in the film at all. There is one sad bit of romance that I believe the movie missed out not having in it.
Animatics show animated storyboards of four sequences.
Extras shows some pretty cool behind the scenes stuff, like hair and make-up tests and some trial camera shots. Interesting for those with a fascination for filmmaking.
‘Downtown’ Music Video sees Taylor-Joy perform a cover of the classic song originally performed by Petula Clark.
Trailers has a domestic and an international trailer for the film, both which are quite different.
There is also a commentary with Wright, editor Paul Machliss and composer Steve Price which is animated and fascinating and completely worth while listening to even if you aren’t a commentary listener.
WISIA: Oh yes, this will be watched again. Regularly.