Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho” indulges in nostalgia for the swinging London of the 1960s

In her dreams, Ellie metamorphoses with Sandie, marveling at her avatar’s cheeky self-confidence as she walks into the Café de Paris and tells local talent scout Jack (Matt Smith) that she is. the new Cilla Black. A brilliant career is announced. Or does he do it?

Ellie starts working on the pink chiffon dress Sandie wore in her dreams and turns into blonde. Soho fantasies return every night, but they take a bad turn as fun and glamor give way to agonizing achievements. It turns out that Jack is little more than a pimp. Sandie wanted to be a star, but she finds herself a hostess at a nightclub, listening to the mundane chatter of middle-aged businessmen determined to take her to bed.

Ellie is traumatized by these night visions, which gradually become uglier and frightening, spill over into everyday life, until the line between dream and reality disappears. The ghosts of the creepy businessmen Sandie were bound to entertain Ellie day and night. They hide like gray zombies, always ready to pounce.

As Ellie’s world disintegrates, we wonder if she is a victim of supernatural forces or if she has inherited schizophrenia from her mother. She becomes convinced that a cranky old man, played by Terence Stamp, knows what happened to the real Sandie, which is not her imagination. In her growing inconvenience, Ellie has a sympathetic ally, a black college student named John (Michael Ajao), who tells her that he knows what it’s like to be an alien, and tries to help her stay sane. ‘spirit.

The mystery will be solved – albeit in a slightly predictable way – in a dramatic finale, as the music continues to roll. Wright builds an elaborate and alluring platform, but climaxes in a chaotic fashion. The characters are never fully developed, as they look like cartoons in the way they are presented. The primacy of visuals and music ensures that the whole movie plays out like a comic book.

The central tension in Last night in Soho stems from Wright’s wish to tell a story that debunks the ‘swinging London’ myth while delivering it on all other fronts. A story of brutality and disillusion, in which women are ruthlessly exploited, is shrouded in a whirlwind of quick cuts and pans, dizzying close-ups, and scenes in the scenes. We are sucked into the atmosphere of nightclubs, and propelled into dark streets illuminated by neon reflections. All to a booming soundtrack of familiar and sung hits.

Star power and nostalgia are central to the film‘s appeal. The use of icons from the 60s such as Rigg, Stamp and Tushingham is a shameless tribute to the movies and TV series in which these actors made their reputation. Among the rising stars, McKenzie’s shyness and vulnerability plays out against the glare of big-eyed Taylor-Joy in a puffy blonde.

The plot inconsistencies are obscured by the distractions of sound and picture, making Last night in Soho rather fragile entertainment. It’s overwhelming at the point of contact but starts to fade as soon as we leave the theater.

For many viewers, a two hour break from reality is enough on its own, but one can’t help but think that there is a dimension to this story that is being stifled by Wright’s indulgence. for the image and the atmosphere. One wonders what a shrewd observer of modern British history such as Stephen Poliakoff would have done with this material.

The plot of Last night in Soho tells us that swinging in London wasn’t all it was meant to be, but everything else in the movie is screaming, “Yeah, yeah! It was! ”It’s horribly tempting to forget the moral of the story and soak up the sensations.

Last night in Soho

Realized by Edgar wright

Written by Edgar wright & Krysty Wilson-Cairns

Featuring Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Michael Ajao, Terence Stamp, Diana Rigg, Rita Tushingham, Synnøve Karlsen, Pauline McLyn

UK, rated MA 15+, 116 minutes


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