TIFF 2021: Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho” is a Visually Stunning Affair

Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho is a wild ride, a thrilling roller coaster of emotions that keeps you captivated with all of its permutations. The charming coming of age/fish out of water story evolves into a dark horror murder mystery with supernatural time travel elements. Not only that, it’s an absolute explosion of vibrant colors set against a backdrop of swinging ’60s tunes. The signature charm that you’ve come to love from Edgar Wright’s previous films is present here as well.

Last Night in Soho tells the tale of Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), a 1960s obsessed teen with an eye for vintage style who leaves her small village in the English countryside to attend fashion college in London to fulfill the ambitions of her late mother. While in London, Eloise finds herself travelling back to the ’60s in her dreams and inhabits the body of Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), an aspirational avatar for the unpopular teen. The sultry blonde Sandie is a promising singer who is eager to conquer the burgeoning London music scene. Both in her real life and as Sandie, Eloise soon realizes that there’s something sinister underneath the bright lights of the big city.

Thomasin McKenzie delivers an incredible performance in the film. Playing the role of the awkward plucky underdog in a way that feels endearing and never cloying, making it easy to root for her throughout the entire film. As the emotional anchor, all of the heavy lifting is on Thomasin McKenzie and the entire nearly two-hour picture would’ve fallen apart had she not absolutely nailed it. The New Zealand actress was great in a supporting capacity in JoJo Rabbit, but Last Night in Soho can and should be a star-making vehicle for McKenzie. Another absolute bright spot is Anya Taylor-Joy’s portrayal of Sandie. Taylor-Joy commands all the attention every time she appears on the screen and leaves a major mark.

The horror aspects of Last Night in Soho feel truly scary. While it doesn’t rely too heavily on gore, there is some present in the film. There are also a few genuinely startling jump scares. All in all, I’d highly recommend seeing this. As you’ve come to expect from Edgar Wright films, the soundtrack is amazing and it’s visually a stunning affair. It has heart and should hopefully go down not just as being the highlight of day two of TIFF, but as a modern-day horror classic.

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