Edgar Wright’s instinct to remix genres is undeniable. It is tested again by the latest film from the director of Welcome to the end of the world O Baby Driver, the well orchestrated and performed but quite insubstantial Last night in Soho. In his fast-paced formal choreography, Wright puts a little of everything, steps of thriller, of fantastic horror, of yellow Italian and even musical, to tell a story of blood and ghosts that travels from the innocent English countryside to the dark London night. A film that takes place in parallel between the sixties and the present, a broad band that allows Wright to exceed in almost everything, including his vicious cinephile and musical references.
If the Wright documentary was released last week The Sparks brothers, as interesting and fun as it is self-indulgent, now it’s the turn of a movie that somehow lacks the same indulgence. Last night in Soho He has verve, but in his deployment he needs to hit harder.
The central character is a misfit fashion student traumatized by the death of her mother played by Thomasin McKenzie, an actress who moves well in the ambiguity of somewhat sad and tortured characters. The isolation of the young woman has to do largely with her ability to communicate with the afterlife, a gift that opens the doors of time until she moves to the place of her dreams, the swinging London. As you might imagine, the dream turns into a nightmare and the postcard image of the city of the Thames will show its (also quite postcard) criminal reverse. Thus, amidst the city’s gloomier Jack the Ripper tradition, Wright sprinkles songs ranging from Wishin’ and Hopin’, de Dusty Springfield; Eloise, de Barry Ryan, o Downtown, by Petula Clark. A kind of passive-aggressive karaoke where the nostalgia and neon that the British director likes so much are welcome … but nothing more.
If McKenzie plays the city-surpassed provincial, Anya Taylor-Joy (Lady’s gambit) will be the woman of his dreams, whom he will meet on the other side of the mirror, an aspiring artist without much luck. Last night in Soho that it was the last film an elderly Diana Rigg made before her death, it features another veteran of the British scene, Terence Stamp; two faces that skillfully connect the viewer with the decade that the protagonist longs for so much. If the visual impact at the beginning of the film is undeniable, the seams end up giving way until they break in its final section, where what seems like a broad brush appointment to Psychosis It is neither scary nor funny, and it all results from a rather burdensome solemnity.
LAST NIGHT IN SOHO
Address: Edgar Wright.
Interpreters: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, Diana Rigg.
Gender: thriller. United Kingdom, 2021.
Duration: 118 minutes.
Premiere: November 19.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.