Home Musical score Last Night in Soho – The Seattle Psychic

Last Night in Soho – The Seattle Psychic

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1. 1. Thomasin McKenzie and Michael Ajao in Last Night in Soho

By Dwight Brown

“Last night, I saw something in my dreams,” says Eloise, a sometimes psychic and always naïve student. Did she have visions of ghosts or disappointed moviegoers leaving the cinema?

The trailers and posters of Last night in Soho can fool potential audiences into believing that this ode to Soho, London in the 60s could be as vibrant as the miniskirts, Twiggy, and the music of the day. Instead, writer / director Edgar Wright and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917) have created a psychological thriller set today that also goes back 60 years through the delusions of a teenager. It’s not a horror movie per se, or at least not a good one. So fans of this genre have no hope. Instead, brace yourself for a slightly macabre mystery whose saving graces are a visually stunning, slightly campy recreation of a fictionalized era and serious cast.

Meticulously and with an evident love for time and place, Wright assembles a stellar tech team who can make his fantasies come true. Their work is so engaging, lively and nostalgic that it feels like the 1960s footage jumped out of the cover of an old record album: buildings, interiors, and neon lights cast a spell because the designer production Marcus Rowland (Baby Driver, Scott Pilgrim vs. the world) wants to take viewers back to the past. The music is spinning like go-go dancers on acid because of Steven Price (Baby Driver) cheerful musical score and a playlist that includes Petula Clark singing “Downtown”. Costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux (An education) gives the entire cast something classy to wear and her rendering of a salmon pink sleeveless dress becomes a focal point. The nightclubs, city streets, countryside views, and dark spooky halls all seem haunting because cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung (Old boy) captures their essence, illuminates them perfectly and frames every shot impeccably.

Wright’s other savior is his set of actors. Each plays their part, convincing audiences that while the premise is far-fetched, their colorful characters are worth seeing: Teenage Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie, Bunny Jojo) leaves his country house to attend the prestigious London College of Fashion. She is wide eyed and eager to become a clothes designer. She wears her innocence on her sleeve and her nasty roommate bully Jocasta (Synnove Karlsen) ruthlessly ridicules her. The field mouse flees student accommodation and finds a room in an apartment owned by the nit-picking elderly Mrs Collins (Diana Rigg, The Avengers). Lying in her bed in a room on the top floor, Eloise has crazy dreams, nightmares, nightmares.

Meanwhile, long ago in the ’60s, somewhere in that same neighborhood of Soho, the very blonde and effervescent ingenuous Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit) tries with ambition to become a singer in the famous nightclub Café De Paris. She runs into the very handsome and easy-going Jack (Matt Smith, The crown), who claims to be a talent manager with relationships. She’s got fame in mind, he sees her more as a private dancer, the kind older men desire.

Wright has a pretty typical premise for a thriller. It’s the kind of twin story and two-world view that M. Night Shyamalan (The sixth sense, old man) is unleashed in his sleep. For Wright, whose past credits include the cult, wacky comic horror film Shaun of the Dead and the timeless contemporary Baby Driver, it enters new territory: elegant and serious thrillers. He gets an “A” for style, a “D +” for his less than convincing thriller skills. Eloise and Sandie have their issues and demons, but neither are shocking enough to scare anyone. Yes, the images feature elements of horror (stabbing, bloodletting, apparitions), but none of the aberrations are grotesque enough to give audiences nightmares. Scenes of nudity, sex and violence are interspersed with but don’t tip the scales too much.

While Eloise is caught up in her delirium and the film ends with revelations, clarifications and superabundant twists, there is no gain that justifies 116 minutes of time for anyone (editor Paul Machliss, Baby Driver). This is especially true for genre fans who love their horror in the shakes (A Quiet Place, Part II) or wrapped in macabre antics (Titanium).

Wright needed to make this project really horrible or really campy. Half-step is not a viable option. Adding more ghostly images, picking up the pace, and cranking up the volume of the musical soundtrack just don’t do the trick. Plus, part of the problem is that Eloise has been a bland character for far too long: “I wish I was like everyone else.” For the first half hour, her only exciting decision is to bleach her hair blonde. Additionally, his relationship with his classmate John (Michael Ajao, Attack the block) appears to be a complementary subplot. As a male character, John is so emasculated that you feel as sorry for him as you do for the actor who got the ungrateful role.

Some viewers will come to the justifiable conclusion that the most compelling storyline is about Sandie and the charming and sinister Jack. If this movie had ignored the whole narrative of Eloise and her generation and instead focused on the couple’s vintage era, the movie might have been more fun to watch.

Sometimes two stories are better than one. In that case. No. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcVnFrxjPjI. In theaters from October 29e, 2021.