Last Night in Soho (2021) Review

“Idolized Men & Exploited Women: The Swinging Sixties.” – A review on the new Edgar Wright film ‘Last Night In Soho’


‘Last Night In Soho’ is Edgar Wrights 6th feature length film (not including his 1995 film ‘A Fistful of Fingers’ and his new documentary on The Sparks) which stars Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise Turner, a college student who is studying fashion in London and is very much in love with the sixties. Alongside her is the great Anya Taylor Joy as Sandie, a vision Eloise lost in the 60s looking to become a star. Also starring…a stellar soundtrack. This film is visually stunning and bright, yet just as well dark; this is as much a love letter to Giallo films as it is a hate letter to the nostalgic sixties.

This film isn’t perfect, so let’s get that out of the way now. Edgar Wright falls into many cliches and borderline stereotypical characters and plot points. The 3rd act is whole different story to discuss and could easily make or break this film. Many reviews rip the 3rd act, but personally for me… it worked? It felt strange, and a shift of tone and a lot of the CGI and animations were somewhat questionable, but overall, for me, it worked. I had fun with it, and I feel the best way to get over this film’s many flaws is to just go in for a fun time.

The aspect of this film that holds my greatest appraisal is its spectacular soundtrack. To the opening scene presented with “A World Without Love,” to Anya Taylor Joy’s beautiful rendition of “Downtown,” originally by Pentulla Clark, to the great, yet very nerve-racking scene that is presented with Eloise by Barry Ryan. This film also includes “Happy House” by Siouxsie and The Banshees and many other great tracks that again are used more as a storytelling tool than just to have a needle drop just for the sake of it being an Edgar Wright film.

The characters in ‘Last Night in Soho’ cloak themselves in both color and darkness. One of my flaws with this film was that some characters don’t really feel… real; however, I might contradict myself with everything I’m about to say. The characters may not feel so real, but they’re captivating and interesting to the point where I don’t really care that they might be a little too over the top for a story it’s telling, but the characters and their great performances really make for a fun and thrilling time. Also, Matt Smith gives a great performance playing the average white man in the 60s.

Thematically this film is big and bold. The message behind this film may be front and center in your face, but that’s because of its strong message. It’s a bold film that, even though at times it feels it’s playing safe with its themes and the way they’re presented, in no way is playing it safe. The 60s are now a time that gets so glamorized for its beautiful music and wonderful films…but like every glamorized era, there’s a darkness lingering behind it that we can no longer pretend was never there. The sixties and many other decades sadly still see the lingering effects of idolized men and the exploited women behind them. Edgar Wright does a great job showing the way people of this decade age with time, with all the pain and harm that they’ve caused or been hit with. A wonderful shot in this film is the main protagonist, Eloise, walking down a street of 60’s London in front of this billboard promoting ‘Thunderball,’ the 007 film starring Sean Connery, a man widely loved and just as widely hated by many. How could this iconic star, who’s most famous role is for the very idolized James Bond, be hated by many? It’s because his past is filled with roles of misogynistic attitudes and actions towards women. The 60s and on is full of these big, famous men who hurt women and hurt minorities, but everyone blinks their eyes to it and lets it pass by because of who they are. Edgar Wright, although messy and questionable at times, makes a really well-made film showing this and showing the brutal honesty of this idolized time.

Previously said in this review, this film is visually beautiful. The gorgeous and bright cinematography was done by the great director of photography Chung-hoon Chung. Chung-hoon Chung has done the cinematography for great films, such as ‘Oldboy’ and ‘The Handmaiden.’ The cinematography and great directing go hand in hand; the music scenes and the smooth editing somehow feels for a very different change of direction and pace for Edgar Wright. Edgar Wright ditches his fast moving, fast editing pace style for a slower, yet still suspenseful thriller.

‘Last Night in Soho’ is a messy and different shift for Edgar Wright that, despite its messiness, was still a great time and is still a film I would love to watch again. The performances are colorful and dark, the cinematography is bright and dim, the soundtrack is awesome, and it’s without a doubt a very fun, thrilling time. Check it out.


4/5 – thou film likes to live deliciously.