What’s Watts Watching? Edgar Wright’s return to theatres

Steven Watts

Image By: Liam Killian

Pioneer of the soundtrack film, Edgar Wright, director of “Baby Driver” has finally returned to theaters. “Last Night in Soho” released on October 29th, a perfect movie for the transition to fall.

Wright’s new film follows fashion student Eloise (played by Thomasin McKenzie of “Jojo Rabbit”), who moves to London after getting into her dream school. Eloise quickly finds that the school is not all she thought it would be. Facing endless bullying, Eloise moves out of the school’s dormitories, and into an old house in Soho where she develops a strange connection with a girl, Sandy, living in the 1960s, played by Anya Taylor-Joy of “The Queen’s Gambit”. 

The narrative of the film is incredible. With twists and turns around every corner, Wright foreshadows elements of the story before they are even introduced. Nearly every twist in the movie took me by surprise, and I was always on the edge of my seat to see what would happen next.

The unpredictability of the film contributed to a tension that accompanied even the most emotional scenes of the film. I was never sure who to trust, making every single interaction full of suspense.

The characters of the film are the result of amazing writing as well. Eloise is defined by her nostalgia for a time that she’s never lived in, a feeling that I think many people can relate to. As Eloise slowly realizes that the time she pines to live in is not much different than the present day, she begins to uncover some of the dark history surrounding Soho. 

All of the characters are realistically flawed, too. Eloise is rather close-minded and so hesitant to trust the people around her, that she ends up isolating herself. She has a hard time asking anyone for help, even in times of desperation. 

Sandy is a foil to Eloise. She trusts everyone and approaches every situation with an optimistic mind. Sandy must learn to stand up for herself and protect herself from the threatening world around her.

The character work is also helped by fantastic performances from McKenzie and Taylor-Joy. Though McKenzie has had a rather quiet, indie career, she really stepped into her role in this blockbuster and gave a perfect performance.

Taylor-Joy offered a flawless performance, an increasingly common occurrence for her. One of the most in-demand actresses in Hollywood today, she added more great acting to her resume.

Edgar Wright’s style is ever-present in this movie. Fluid transitions throughout are accompanied by a breathtaking soundtrack and define the cinematography of the film. Though the soundtrack doesn’t top that of “Baby Driver”, it still sets the film apart from most.

I had only two issues with the film, the first of which was that the third act slightly dragged. There was a short 15 minute stretch that felt boring. During that period, nothing important to the plot happened, and with a relatively long 1 hour and 50 minute runtime that’s disappointing.

My second problem is the bland secondary antagonist to Eloise. Synnove Karlsen plays Jocasta, an overly cliche rich and entitled person. Jocasta’s only traits are being a snob, and a bully to Eloise. The secondary villain doesn’t add much to the story other than a reason for Eloise to move out of the dormitories.

I really enjoyed “Last Night in Soho” and I recommend it to any fans of mystery and horror. The film, much like its main character, is rather nostalgic. 

If you’ve seen movies like “Psycho”, “Vertigo” or other old Hitchcockian thrillers, you’ll likely see a few references that not everyone will. The allusions to 1960s films weren’t overpowering, but definitely added an extra layer of self-awareness in Edgar Wright’s twisted love letter to the 1960s.

 

Last Night in Soho: 4/5 Stars