Last Night in Soho

Last Night in Soho ★★★★★

A second viewing really added to the experience on this one. The first time around, I was startled and disturbed by the film's excellent depiction of London's seedy underbelly, particularly in a mid-movie sequence that cuts beneath the glamour of the dance floor and puts the full ugliness of this world on display.

I was less certain on first viewing exactly where Wright was taking us, at least for the film's first half. Watching it again, I delighted in picking up on the director's masterfully-planted clues and got a certain kind of pleasure knowing exactly where this thing was heading. This allowed me to live in the world of the film a bit more - and what a world it is! The seediness aside, Last Night in Soho is an absolute blast of visual and musical delights. Wright has a ton of fun playing around with genre and the milieu of 1960s London. There are so many big, drab-looking movies in cinemas right now, but Last Night in Soho is full of life and color, not to mention genuine tension and menace.

It's been said elsewhere, but Wright really captures the feeling of homesickness during one's first year away at college. The first twenty minutes of the movie do an excellent job of connecting us to Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie), and that's critical to making the rest of the movie work.

I greatly admire Edgar Wright's work, but some of his films are almost a little too hip or self-reflexive for me (particularly Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - a movie I fully recognize is well-done, but most of the video game references are lost on me). But here, he's wrestling with larger ideas (romanticization of the past and mental illness among them) and dealing in pure genre territory (Last Night in Soho is fun, but it's not particularly funny - there are few comedic gags to be found). I guess what I'm saying is... this is my favorite Edgar Wright movie, and it deserved to be a much bigger hit.

jackkyser liked this review