Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Review “Last Night in Soho”: Dreamgirls

Review "Last Night in Soho": Dreamgirls

At the beginning of Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, there is a delightful episode in which Eloise (Thomasin Mackenzie), a fashion student who recently arrived in London, experiences what appears to be a vivid dream. Fascinated by a gorgeous young singer named Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy, pink chiffon and light fluffy dress), Eloise finds her on a busy street where Thunderball’s Sean Connery bursts from a giant marquee. When two women walk into a glamorous nightclub and Cilla Black’s painful 1964 hit “You Are My World” is played on the soundtrack, they become mirror images and their stories merge irrevocably.

Nothing in Wright’s previous work prepared me for Last Night in Soho, its subtle seductiveness and bursts of sophistication. Blurring the line between present and past, fact and fantasy, the director (thanks to the euphoric talents of filmmaker Jung Hoon Chong) has created some of the most striking images of his career. It’s also his first film to star a female lead – he’s best known for fellow comedies like Sean from the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007) – choices that give a genuine thrill to a story based on male sexuality. the violence and swaying of London’s seedy belly.

As Eloise’s psychic bond with Sandy begins to overwhelm her daily life – given the long-awaited flashes of normality from Michael Ajao as a supportive fan – the plot (which is best talked about as little as possible) sharply darkens. However, the film remains bright: streets twinkle and shadows pulsate, amber light from doorways pours like whiskey on Eloise’s nighttime adventures. What we are watching is a gorgeous horror film, the surface of which has been muted by three legendary British actors: Diana Rigg in one of her most recent roles as apartment owner Eloise; Rita Tushingham as her grandmother; and Terence Stamp. Our first clear glimpse of Stamp stopping at the doorframe of a dubious establishment to neatly straighten his coat is a masterclass in minimalist menace. His mysterious character might have been deplorable, but I would have spent minutes with Stamp and hours with Chalamet any day of the week.

Despite the fact that “Last Night in Soho” is unable to maintain patient confidence in its first act, it is almost as enjoyable as ghosts. The montage is dizzying, the music is divine as Wright drags on through time to show what a big city can do with a young woman’s dreams. This lends the film a latent reverie that seems perfectly right, like when Eloise tells Stamp’s character that her mother is dead. “Most of them,” he replies before leaving.

Last night in Soho
R rating for grubby men spilling blood and ghosts galore. The duration of the performance is 1 hour 56 minutes. In theaters.

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