Quick-Thoughts: Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho

Severely disappointed. It may be part A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) meets The Sixth Sense (1999) meets Repulsion (1965), but its equally part a 12-year-old boy first discovering Hollywood’s history with sex crimes so “hear-ye” I shall immediately speak on behalf of it, and part whatever the f**k that humiliating third act is, yet… that’s not to say there wasn’t anything to love here, which only makes it even more disappointing since there’s potential constantly lurking in Edgar Wright’s first ever steer from his comedic specialty and rather current dive into strict drama / thriller territory. Thomasin McKenzie’s portrayal as newly accepted fashion student Eloise carries essentially the complete weight of rewarding moments that this movie actually has to offer — the parallel between her and her mother isn’t used all that well but it’s certainly compelling in concept — and of course Wright’s aesthetical decisions and ways of shooting are rich in variety and full of life as per usual — those mirror tricks are great! The second vision horror elements are also, at first, effective to its cause for enhancing themes and allegories until they start becoming recycled tediously as the film goes along.

But sheesh, once you make it past the first half, the plot becomes truly insufferable. Almost every “gotcha” or “wait I’m in the real world” moment is so illogically contrived, on-the-nose, and followed promptly by excessively wordy and laughable twist exposition to persistently remind you that the r-rated Scooby-Doo-quality mystery is still alive; this movie is so blatantly d**king around with what is insinuated only to have each of these preconceptions 180 overruled at the cost of them not making a damn bit of sense in retrospect. And then we get to one of the poorest climaxes I’ve seen all year: a zig-zaggy shamble of last-minute thematic, dramatic, narrative, and character arc compiling that feels like if someone shot an overnight first-draft bullet-point jotting at best. Admittedly, Wright has never been the best at writing tidy plots, but this is taking it to a whole other level where I‘m actually unable to enjoy his film because of it. 

I think what’s even more mind-blowing than anything else though is how robotically written all the surrounding characters ended up being; the bright individual behind so many classic personalities now seems to write motionless extras as big league narrative movers for our lead character. I’m sorry fellas, this Americanized Blow-Up (1966) or b-rate Hitchcockian homage targeted to stimulate the modern nostalgia-wave climate we’re living in that also ironically wants to send a message about the dangers of nostalgia — it’s either being meta with hypocrisy or accidental with hypocrisy — really didn’t do it for me. I guess in the end, Last Night in Soho is Edgar Wright’s worst film by a long, long, long shot. 

*sigh*

Lastly, there’s a movie that came out back in 2020 which is founded on an almost identical concept to that of Soho’s. I’m pretty certain though that both movies were filmed around a similar time, but suffice it to say, this now only looks worse considering that that other movie came out beforehand and is furthermore superior.

Verdict: C-

2021 Ranked, Edgar Wright Ranked

“Last Night in Soho” is now playing in theaters.

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