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Movie Corner: Last Night in Soho

Universal

(2021)

★★★★★

By HOWARD MCQUITTER II

Last Night in Soho to its credit is quite spellbinding, thanks in large part to cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung (who also is the cinematographer with director Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead [2004]and Hot Fuzz [2007]. What director Edgar Wright does convincingly well is how he segues genres, drama, horror and mystery. Adding to this fascinating film is a tribute to many 1960s rock/R&B songs. (The title for Last Night in Soho is a reference to a 1960s rock band, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich.)

            The story begins with a young woman, Eloise (Thomasin McKenkie from JoJo Rabbit), with big aspirations to go London to be a fashion designer but not without a warning about moving to the big city from Peggy (Rita Tushingham). Eloise loves 60s music and styles. Her first nights are in the dorm with some other students who love to party and go to bars. She feels out of place but she does go to the bars with them. Eloise, not satisfied living with the other students, rents a second-floor apartment from an old landlady (Diana Rigg).

       But before long, Eloise begins to have strange dreams (some might say hallucinations, or maybe reincarnation) about a woman named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), from the 1960s, with aspirations to be a famous singer. But Eloise is pulled into these dreams like a spectator as this glamorous blonde goes into her performances, seemingly gliding through with singing and dancing before crowds and louche men. However, these dreams become darker leaving her to believe she’s no longer a spectator, but something

more sinister. She wants to find out what really happened to the promising talented woman. But a clue may be on the way from her landlady who, attempting to ease Eloise’s agitation, remarks, “This is London. Someone has died in every room in every building…” And Eloise remembers what Peggy warned her about London. The only one to come to her aid in crisis or otherwise is John (Michael Ajao) a young gentleman from her class.

        Fine performances by Anya Taylor-Joy, Terence Stamp (Billy Budd [1962]), Rita Tushingtam, Diana Rigg, Michael Ajao, and especially Thomasin McKenzie. I can’t leave out the great 1960s music weaving in and out of the film.

Director: Edgar Wright. Screenwriters: Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns. Cinematography: Chung-hoon Chung. Music: Steven Price. Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy (Sandie), Thomasin McKenzie (Eloise), Matt Smith (Jack), Terence Stamp (Silver-Haired Man), Diana Rigg, R.I.P. (Miss Collins), Michael Ajao (John), Synnove Karlsen (Jocasta), Andrew Bicknell (Cloakroom Attendant). Production Companies: Film4 Productions, Perfect World Pictures, Working Title Films, Complete Fiction Pictures. Distributed by: Universal Pictures.

Running time:117 minutes, (R).

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