Last Night In Soho [Grade: 92.5%]

Director: Edgar Wright

Story By: Edgar Wright & Krystyn Wilson-Cairns

Cast: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Diana Rigg, Michael Ajao, Matt Smith, & Synnove Karlsen

* * *

There are 2 reasons that drew me to this film—the poster and Anya Taylor-Joi. I did enjoy my viewing, and was actually really impressed with the direction and visual effects. 

* * *

Below are my grades for key components in #LastNightInSoho that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character (pertaining to arc/development &/or delivery).  FYI: My A=95, A- =90, B=85, B-=80…etc. My D- =60 and my F=50

Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch/$$$, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start, OR experience is intentionally relevant to the genre and executed well–nothing more), Wait for Streaming, Don’t Rush, & Don’t Watch.

I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.

* * *

Theme: A

Plot & Story: B

Pacing: A

Character: A

* * *

Entertainment Factors

General Public: Worth the Watch/$$$

Film Enthusiasts: Worth the Watch/$$$

Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Interesting Enough

Psychological Horror Fans: Worth the Watch/$$$

* * *

TAKEAWAYS:

1. To get my low rating out of the way, what we have is a story about a young, aspiring fashion designer in London seeking to avenge a woman from the 60s after multiple sudden and traumatizing reenactment experiences.

Act One does a great job with introducing Elle and really setting up her character in a way to lay down foundations that later blossom into the myriad of tensions necessary to move this story. Additionally, Act One attempts to set in motion the heavy lifting viewers will have to do in terms of understanding “how” our lead character can actually get herself into “reenactment situations.” Even though this background knowledge does provide some clarity, it also had a tendency to bring about confusion due to the easy assumption being more health related vs “a gift” of sorts… 

Act Two is the sweet spot of this story. The tensions take center stage, and the story just layers it all on you in such an engaging and seemingly immersive way. However this is also where the psychological component comes into play, but is it psychological because this mentally complex moment is curated in such a creative and somewhat logical way, OR is it psychological because the story intentionally doesn’t really clarify Elle’s “how,” so you’re just stuck wondering what the hell is actually going on? I also wondered how Elle didn’t “see” what she later “learns” in Act Three… … (it comes off like just some random decision that was made for the sake of moving the plot…)

Act Three is interesting…there’s an oddity to the “closure” I recognized that somehow turns the plot upside down???… but audiences are tasked with questioning the shift which is possibly the real psychological horror of the entire film for me. 🤔🤔

2. John was SOOOO cute! Ugh, I loved him! 😍😍

3. Again, the direction was really captivating. The initial “meeting” and the mirrors down the stairs, and the dance scene…like, wow! Really amazing work. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

4. Nice work by Thomasin with delivering such a determined and awkward, yet passionate and erotically suppressed character. 

Whether via her interactions with John that were impacted by her grandmother’s fears, her suppressed erotic intrigue that added a level of paranoia, or the impact of the “reenactments”, within each Act Elle is placed in various situations that align closely to the theme, and added to the feeling I had towards the end of Act Three. 

The arc of her character sort of reminded me of Daniel Kaluuya’s character arc in Get Out. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

5. Pacing was just phenomenal. I couldn’t take my eyes off Thomasin nor Anya, but I also have to shout out Edgar Wright and the editing team—that collaboration between director and editor worked so well for me. It was as if every scene had something to keep up with, watch for, or draw towards. 

Even though I knew the end of the movie was near, it wasn’t because of dragging or being rushed, it was because of feeling like I was a part of everything Elle went through to the point of knowing “I/We” were getting to the end of things—an interactive realization of the conclusion, I suppose. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

6. Ms. Collins was SUCH a kee! 😂

7. Chile… that fashion show was LATE (this means “a mess” or “lame” for non-gay lingo folk LOL). 😂😂🤦🏾‍♂️

8. That “halloween night” room scene was another well shot moment. So much intensity, and the pacing was perfect. 👍🏾

9. So there’s 2 primary messages that I noticed—One that focuses on the social and/or environmental challenges that can have an impact on our dreams/aspirations if we allow them to, and another message that weaves in a focus on women and exploitation / trafficking / dangers of patriarchy / assault.

Thomasin delivered an amazing performance that embodied these challenges and discomforts—related to and extensions of her personal aspiration. We see these in moments that may seem small but can be telling in Act One in order to set the tone of this message from jump, and the role of manipulation and fear in Act Two.

But then we get to Act Three and there’s the/a response, or “responses,” that actually makes one pause in relation to the woven in message… And everything is aligned, but it’s the realization and the decision by not just Thomasin alone in regards to the theme that you have to sit with for however long you need…👍🏾👍🏾

10. Listen. Anya Taylor-Joy… 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾😍😩

* * *

Overall #LastNightInSoho gives Cruella – meets A Beautiful Mind – meets Nightmare on Elm Street – meets Single White Female – meets I May Destroy You – meets I Spit On Your Grave – meets the woman perspective from Black Mirror’s Hang the DJ episode.

This film reminded me of the same feeling I had when I watched Black Swan in terms of the suspenseful and intense-paced direction. Edgar Wright did some really amazing things with this film. 

The ending is one that can be talked about for quite some time. I mean there’s the traumatic experience aspect to what we see, but then there’s a series of crimes…but in response to an ultimate crime that seems to be led by an obvious snake with a clear “head”…but is that “head” the “person,” or is it the essence/root of the bigger issue that drives the “snake” which now is actually an embodiment of all “those” who consciously and actively are responsible for its ability to “slither…” to then justify the crimes? But then how does that impact / undermine / disregard / take into consideration the experience of women in this context? 

#Whew! See, this is why I say that’s the real execution of the psychological horror. 

**And no there are no actual snakes in the film, but this was the best and most creative non-spoiling way to try and unpack the ending (LOL). 

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