Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho is the director’s attempt to pull off a David Lynchian style thriller that focuses more on dreams and perceptions of reality. And like most David Lynch movies, the second half is way different than the first half. But Wright doesn’t take Lynch’s gutsy attempt to make a thriller that doesn’t exactly wrap itself up at the end.
The plot is set in modern time London revolves around a Eloise “Ellie” Turner (Thomasin McKenzie) who moves from the rural England countryside to study fashion. Ellie loves the Swinging Sixties era and her love of music and fashion is based on that. Naturally, she doesn’t seem to mix with the other students and goes looking for her own lodging after having problems with her roommate.
Finding a bedsit owned by the elderly Mrs. Alexandra Collins (Diana Rigg in her final role), she begins to start having dreams of a young blonde woman, Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy) in the Cafe de Paris during the 1960s. And Ellie begins to follow her fashion designs based on Sandie’s. But then, the dreams start having an effect on her especially after Sandie is actually residing in the same bedsit.
She also begins to notice there is a Silver-Haired Gentleman (Terrence Stamp) who seems to take notice in her as she has to take up a job at a nightclub. But the dreams begin to cloud her mind. What is real? And what is a vision? In her dreams, she sees Sandie is actually now being pimped out by Jack (Matt Smith), a man Sandie met at the Cafe de Paris.
After a Halloween party, Ellie and John (Michael Ajao), who is a student, who was friendly with Ellie, return to her bedsit where they begin to make out when Ellie has visions of Sandie being attacked by Matt and murdered. But did this even happen?
The problem with this movie is Wright presents an intriguing story with great style but in the end, the movie becomes a standard thriller. And that’s where it all falls apart. The twists don’t really come as a shock and Wright follows what has been called The Law of the Most Extraneous Character in thrillers. There was a great story here. Ellie and Sandie are very three-dimensional character and McKenzie and Taylor-Joy do what they can to make them stand out more.
But once you realize where the story is going, you really feel cheated because Wright is known, like Lynch, for not playing by the rules. The ending just feels more like a deus ex machina. Maybe filmmakers who often bend the rules, decide to play thing straight. While the movie is a look into the lifestyles and cultures of the Soho district, I just felt that Wright could’ve made a better thriller.
What do you think? Please comment.