Saturday, October 9th, 2021

Last Night in Soho at the London Film Festival : reviewed by Queerguru’s Andrew Hebden


“London is a lot” is repeated several times in Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho. And if London is a lot, then the distilled essence of London’s fashion and party scene in Soho is a lot more. And then there is Wright’s imaginatively fertile fairy tale gothic horror movie centred in Soho and the question becomes how much is too much?

Eloise or Elly (Thomasin McKenzie) is an aspiring fashion designer arriving in contemporary Soho to study at the London College of Fashion. Frail, with the dark history of her mother’s suicide hanging over her, she feels like her arrival is the fulfillment of both their dreams inspired by the clothes and music of 60s Carnaby Street. The dream sours as the mean girls of fashion, led by roommate Jocasta (Synnove Karlsen), try to one-up her. When she scurries off to find a bedsit on her own things start to cascade. At first, it is strange dreams where she is plunged through time to seedy 60s Soho and takes on the alter ego of aspiring singer Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy). When Sandy learns that women performers in Soho sell their bodies, not their songs Elly finds the dreams become nightmares of exploitation and abuse.

The movie splits like a schizophrenic personality. The beginning has a Disney-like quality of wish fulfillment and romance suitable for all the family. Then it slashes into adult horror of the bloodiest kind. All are styled to the beats of the very best of 60s music. 

With such extremes, it is hard to avoid the word camp. Cast aside the negative connotations of the word and embrace its promise. Last Night in Soho has the goosebumps of the gothic, the chills of horror, and the deviant smiles of enjoyment that only they can provoke. A tingling excitement courses through its veins and it sprays out as and when the knives strike. It is a heart-thumping escapist night out that only Soho can deliver. 

So how much is too much? With this film, it turns out that a lot, even a little too much, is just the perfect amount.



Queerguru Contributing Editor ANDREW HEBDEN is a MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES graduate spending his career between London, Beijing, and NYC as an expert in media and social trends. As part of the expanding minimalist FIRE movement, he recently returned to the UK and lives in Soho. He devotes as much time as possible to the movies, theatre, and the gym. His favorite thing is to try something (anything) new every day.

Posted by queerguru  at  09:17



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