May 25, 2024

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (2020) – Anya Taylor-Joy sings, dances and sparkles in this blast from the past!

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

4139_D047_00049-00059_RCC Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Sandie and Matt Smith as Jack in Edgar Wright’s LAST NIGHT IN SOHO, a Focus Features release. Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh / Focus Features

Edgar Wright who is best known for his querky works like Shaun of the Dead and more recently, Baby Driver, flexes his creative muscles again as producer, writer and director of Last Night in Soho. The story centres around a young country girl, Eloise, venturing to London as an aspiring fashion designer, a little like how Cruella started off. Like Cruella, she soon finds London rather unwelcoming and feels out of place. She rents a room from a lonely old womannear Soho where her fashion school is, to get away from the fake friends she is surrounded by in school. She soon finds herself strangely transported back to the 1960’s in what appears to be dreams, where she begins to assume the body and experience of another young woman, Sandie, who is not unlike her, trying to make it big in London.

The premise of this story brings us back and forth between the two eras. The world of Sandie in the 1960’s and Eloise’s in the present day. Anya Taylor-Joy plays Sandie and she is simply fabulous here. She has a superstar presence that simply commands the scenes each time she appears on screen. As Sandie, an aspiring singer in the 60’s Anya gets to sing and dance and sparkle in these magical dream like sequences. She does a decent and beautiful take on the classic Petula Clark song “Downtown” Edgar Wright brings out the best and cleverly films these with very interesting angles and tricks with mirror images that allows both Eloise and Sandie to appear like they are the same person! The soundtrack is also constantly blessed with great music and songs from the 60’s which makes us realise who wonderful the music were during those days. In fact the music plays such a pivotal role in the movie that it feels almost like a character in the plot itself. Edgar Wright also captures the dark narrow streets and aura of Soho in a style of his own that is unique and yet familiar at the same time. He is also fortunate to have an amazing cast that includes Matt Smith (TV’s Prince Philip in Seasons 1 and 2 of The Crown), Terence Stamp and the late Diana Rigg in her last role.

Last Night in Soho is excellent cinema in many ways and refreshingly original in its plot and style. My only complaint was in its final act where it started to look and feel more familiar. In fact it was in danger of turning into something not unlike a typical horror and slasher movie. That was a disappointing way to finish what had been a tour de force of a show and performances. Nevertheless, Last Night in Soho will be fondly remembered as one of the year’s best.

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