Last Night in Soho

Last Night in Soho ★½

I've been a Wright fan from the moment Shaun of the Dead broke out in the US, and have always found his films about confronting the arrested development of his characters to be compelling in their heavy insinuation of autocritique. That they have been delivered through an ever-shifting range of stylistic techniques that have casually swapped pastiches from Tony Scott to Brian De Palma have only deepened their pleasures. But everything about this feels completely miscalculated, from presenting a literal adolescent as the figure whose childlike naivete "must" be confronted and dispelled to its disastrous undermining of a heretofore simplistic thematic arc in the final minutes that feels completely unintentional. Its lazy and scattershot plotting ends up opening a minefield of oblivious and self-defeating comments on nostalgia (which it seeks to critique but ultimately fails to interrogate along a continuum of misogyny that stretches to the present), race (the truly abysmal handling of the film's sole Black character), and even the overriding statements about violence against women (see: the entire last act).

Worse, it's even a mess visually, reserving all of its dazzling images for the first half hour and then only fitfully reminding you that Wright can direct from that point forward. The shock cuts lose all of their impact quickly from overuse; the mirror imagery somehow becomes less surreal the deeper things sink into madness; and even the colors slowly desaturate. Weirdly, Scott Pilgrim, by virtue of its sublime and perfectly understood De Palma nods, may in a roundabout way better demonstrate the visual schema of giallo than this knives-and-glass travelogue. This film is completely hollow, with both its lead actresses reduced to empty gestures and signifiers backed by dialogue that is worlds removed from the lived-in cadences that define The World's End and even the nature of reference-heavy dudes rock conversations in Hot Fuzz. A bitter disappointment.

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