“Last Night in Soho”
A shocking trip to the glamorous 1960s
In “Last Night in Soho” the student Ellie travels in her dreams to London in the 60s and comes across a dark secret.
With “Last Night in Soho” the new psychological thriller by director Edgar Wright (47, “Baby Driver”) starts in German cinemas on November 11th. In it, Anya Taylor-Joy (25, “The Queen’s Gambit”) proves once again that she is an outstanding actress. And newcomer Thomasin McKenzie (21, “Jojo Rabbit”) is also enthusiastic. In the film, the young student Eloise (McKenzie) travels back in her dreams to the shimmering London of the 60s. But reality and reality blur into one another – and Eloise soon has terrible suspicions.
“Last Night in Soho”: A fashion student uncovered a dark secret
The young woman Eloise Turner has a big dream: she wants to become a well-known designer. And she seems to be getting a lot closer to her dream than the shy Briton is allowed to study at a fashion school in London. For Ellie – as she calls herself – it goes from the country to the big city, but not without a warning from her grandmother, with whom she lives. Because Eloise’s late mother had similar dreams, but city life was too hard for her, as the grandmother explains.
The girl, who has a soft spot for the swinging sixties, is initially enthusiastic about her student life in London. Ellie quickly realizes, however, that the other students from the dormitory are pounding on her. Without further ado, she moves into a room on the top floor of a villa in the Soho district that old Miss Collins (Diana Rigg, 1938-2020) rents out. Ellie soon feels a bond with a young woman who lived in this room in the 1960s: the mysterious and glamorous Sandy (Taylor-Joy). In her dreams, the young student accompanies the budding singer to dazzling London. But she finds out from time to time that the world of Sandy was anything but enviable. Ellie finds out more and more about Sandy, at the same time reality and reality become increasingly blurred. But instead of letting go, Eloise cannot let the tragic story rest.
Glamorous London meets today
In “Last Night in Soho”, director Edgar Wright takes the audience on a journey through time: it jumps from the present to the shimmering London of the 1960s. The mood of the decade is highlighted by a clever song selection. Details such as the tasteful clothes, memories of Sean Connery as James Bond or visits to the “Café de Paris” nightclub envelop the film in a bewitching light. But appearances are deceptive: Eloise finds out that Sandy was denied a happy life. Instead, the young woman immersed herself in the red light district of the 60s. Her partner Jack (Matt Smith, 39) turned into the villain who had the glowing Sandy under his thumb.
Sandy comes to life not only in Eloise’s dreams. Experiences also affect her in real life: She dresses like the woman who appears in her dreams and always wants to find out more about her. In her travels into the past, Ellie is sometimes the silent observer, sometimes she completely slips into Sandy’s role. However, her attempts to interact with the young woman fail. And so she feels powerless when she has to watch the humiliation and agony Sandy experiences.
Well-known elements newly staged
Admittedly: The mirror motif should be familiar to everyone. Still, Wright uses it in many scenes. Once Eloise watches Sandy through a mirror, sometimes she recognizes herself in it. Another time she uses it to see what has happened in it. But the filmmaker does not only skillfully use the recurring motif of the mirror image. The merging look of Eloise and Sandy is also impressive, for example when the figure changes constantly during a dance. The connection between the two women is intensified – also impressively through the alternation of fast and slow elements.
Horror elements are not neglected either: blurred, male figures with no recognizable face chase not only Sandy, but also Eloise – and not only at night. Still, Ellie is sure that she is not crazy. It has a different effect on the audience, but that is exactly what makes the film so attractive.
The psychological thriller primarily focuses on the connection between Ellie and Sandy. There are other exciting constellations that are hardly mentioned. Including Ellie’s relationship with her grandmother and her late mother. A liaison with one of her fellow students is also discussed. However, it is not clear to the audience why the two find each other attractive. Despite small negative points, “A Night in Soho” is convincing – especially thanks to a strong cast.