Last Night in Soho is a thriller about the dark side of the 1960s

REVIEW: Last Night in Soho Shows Reality of the '60s

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Depicting misogyny and sexual exploitation, Last Night in Soho is also a warning about romanticizing the past.

"London is not what you think, my dear” says Rita Tushingham in this delightfully twisted love letter to Britain's cinematic pop culture past, rendered with praise in Night spent in Soho.

Sixties Soho comes to life brilliantly in the new thriller Edgar Wright's Psychological Last night in Soho. Wright takes his audience back to the heart of Swinging London, a period when the James Bond film Thunderball just released, singers like Cilla Black and Petula Clark are on the charts and Carnaby Street is buzzing with energy. 

The Plot of Last Night in Soho

Aspiring singer Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy) has just arrived in town. She is blonde, beautiful and has the voice and talent to live up to her ambitions. Jack (Matt Smith) is the handsome but roguish talent manager she meets by chance and who looks like he can guide her to the top.

But the colors and life of the 1960s represent only a part of Last Night in Soho. In a time shift, we meet Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) in the film's present tense, an aspiring fashion designer who lives in the countryside of Cornwall and is looking forward to life in the big city. Her mother died when she was seven and she was raised by her grandmother (Rita Tushingham).

Eloise is talented and ambitious, but very shy. The other students, especially her malevolent roommate Jocasta (Synnove Karlsen), mock her for her naivete. She soon escapes the student halls and gets a room in a dormitory on Goodge Street. Her landlady is the mysterious Miss Collins (the late Diana Rigg, in one of her final screen roles). Somehow, from her room on the top floor, Eloise can travel back in time to the 1960s. It's like she's playing a virtual reality game and Sandy is her avatar.

Last Night in Soho - Last Night in Soho is also a love letter to 1960s British culture
Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy for the movie Last Night in Soho

In the current time cut, Eloise fixes her hair to look like Sandy. Initially, she appears to be flourishing, however, dark events she witnesses in the 60s begin to affect her life in London. She is very tense, still clearly affected by her mother's death and struggling to adjust to her new life. 

She gets a job at a Ads Irishman near Soho Square, but is bullied by one of the customers, a veteran (Terence Stamp) who she suspects may have been a pimp and murderer in the 60s. A kind colleague (Michael Ajao) falls in love with her, but she doesn't know how to react to his advances. And as Eloise's mental health deteriorates, the film's development takes us down surprising paths.

Miss Collins said that the room where Eloise takes up residence is haunted by "the good times". This pretty much sums up the horror flavor of the movie. The really scary part of Last night in Soho it's not the supernatural elements that haunt Eloise, but the truth behind a glowing smokescreen. It's the truth about what people do to each other in a society that tolerates it.

A tribute to the 1960's

Inspired by his parents' stories about growing up in the '60s, Wright released Last night in Soho like a love letter to that specific time and space. However, he also wanted it to be a cautionary tale about the danger of romanticizing the past.

Anya Taylor-Joy is perfect for the role. She exudes charisma and star quality. Her performance of “Downtown” by Petula Clark it's chilling. Wright captures both the joy of the era and its darker, sordid side: misogyny and sexual violence.

the editing of Last night in Soho it's dizzying, divine music plays as Wright traverses time to show what the big city can do for a young girl's dreams. This gives the film a melancholy streak that feels just right, which suits the path the film takes us very well.

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Check also the Red Alert review, Netflix's new action-comedy movie.

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