Review: Last Night in Soho
This summer, we launched our BFI Film Academy Ticket Tombola - each month, we randomly select ten young people aged 16-25 from our draw to receive a free cinema ticket to a specially selected film screening with a Q&A or introduction, and invite them to tell us what they thought of the film.
October's film was Edgar Wright's Last Night in Soho, with a pre-film virtual Q&A with the director on Sunday 31 October.
Here's what our young reviewers had to say about Last Night in Soho:
Aerin Thompson, 23
With the film being set in London for two varying decades, the mirroring throughout the locations was cleverly done and guided the audience through the exploration of the city with the main character, Eloise. I also thought the dress/costume work was very smart and in keeping with the 60’s and also present-day time period.
The use of mirroring both within the dreams and that with Eloise’s real life laced the plot and story lines of the characters together. Also, the mirroring in Eloise’s modern-day style and that of the 60’s was refreshing and allowed for links to be made with each of the characters.
The timing and camera work was in the classic Edgar Wright style, and although one of his more serious films he still managed to work light comedy into the script. I particularly liked his uses of tilt-shift and blurring the edges of the screen, making the screen darker and smaller as the storyline progressed and became more dangerous and tense.
I would describe this film as a psychological thriller/horror, and the use of light comedy and more realistic scenes added to this, developing a sense of real life rather than “Horror story”. I would highly recommend for its development of characters and cunning twists in the plot lines.
During the Q&A, we found out that growing up Edgar Wright had very strong personal links to many 60s albums which influenced his life. Knowing this when watching the film put a nice “autobiographical” spin on and felt as if he was using personal songs and sharing that with us as an audience
An incredible experience, playing with the audience’s emotions and thoughts, seamlessly leading them through the life of Eloise.
Ewan Keith-Driver, 23
Last Night in Soho is a visual treat and a primarily visceral experience which is pleasure to view in a cinema, or at least deserves to be seen in a darkened room. Often macabre with a strong visual palate that seems strongly influenced by ‘Giallo’ films and psychological horror – there is such visual inventiveness shown here in the work’s portrayal of the seedy underbelly of Soho. Edgar Wright's willingness to turn even the most ordinary of images into these dark, inviting and beautiful puzzles is such a bold act of creativity in a time where original, big studio pictures like this are sorely needed.
Thomasin Mackenzie as the lead here is a strong emotional anchor and delivers solid work here – managing to convey vulnerability and strength in her performance. Through her, we as audience members are emboldened to ask what it means to romanticise the past and absorb ourselves in nostalgia, while confronting us with the all-too-true idea that the past is never exactly what we imagine it to be and was often as scary and challenging as the present is. It’s a fantastic idea that the film plays with, and I wish it had the restraint and focus to really dig into the gender politics that are at play and which are so interestingly explored at the beginning.