TIFF ’21 ‘Last Night In Soho’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho is a psychological thriller, that explores the journey of two women and their traumatic past. He pays homage to classic giallo horror films, while adding his own signature twists. Wright takes us to the streets of London, with Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie), a 1960s-obsessed young woman who ventures from the English countryside to study fashion at a prestigious London academy. We see London through her eyes, as her naïveté gets the best of her, when exploring relationships with the other girls in her dormitory. After struggling to make friends with the chic cliques, Ellie finds a flat in Soho, where her life becomes intertwined with that of Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy), a singer living in 1966. 

The story is multilayered and only Edgar Wright could add the flare to make this film as suspenseful and poetic as it was. The first half of this film, we follow Ellie around campus, we see that she is an outcast and we empathize with her. Thomasin McKenzie has one of the best performances of the year. Her voice is soft as butter, but when she needs to raise an octave, she does it with gusto. It would be a disservice to give any details about this film because they way it unfolds is really interesting. You will be transported to the 60s, as Wright makes the journey as authentic as possible. The costume design, music choices, and the way the camera moves with the characters all work together to make this work.

The one thing that shouldn’t go unnoticed is the editing. Wright is so precise in every single shot, every scene, and you could tell that everything was placed there for a reason. The constant camera movements, may have your head spinning, but that is so the viewer can experience what is going on in Ellie’s mind. There is plenty of confusion, which adds to the third act twist. This story will resonate with women on a different level, as all women have experienced some sort of trauma in their lives. The visuals are haunting and are incredibly effective with the script Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns created.

Last Night in Soho could possibly be Edgar Wright’s best work yet. From the impeccable needle drops, to the giallo elements, this film modernizes the genre. The performances from Taylor-Joy and McKenzie are electric and will carry you through this journey. Even though the ending wasn’t perfect, and could have been cut down a bit more to leave it up to interpretation, it is still an experience. The vibrant colours, the perfect use of blood, and the meticulous direction from Wright will make you want to head downtown and see what else you could be missing.

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