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Filmmaker Edgar Wright reinvents himself with ‘Last Night in SoHo’

Last night in Soho (4)
Director Edgar Wright reinvents himself in his latest film “Last Night in SoHo.” (Photos: IMDB)
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AMMAN — It has been a big year for filmmaker Edgar Wright, who already released his documentary “The Sparks Brothers,” and is already back with “Last Night in Soho.”اضافة اعلان

It starts with a young girl named Ellie (played by Thomasin McKenzie), who leaves her hometown for the big, bad city. However, this stereotypical protagonist has a sixth sense.

Wright's filmography typically combines his deep and encyclopedic love of cinema with his talent for atmosphere. The director quickly established himself in the international cinematographic landscape as a postmodern filmmaker with a frenzied rhythm and British humor.

Every new film he releases steps off the beaten track and contains all the energy, ardor, and ambition that characterizes its director.

Synopsis

“Last Night in SOHO” follows the story of a young woman passionate about fashion and design, and who mysteriously manages to return to the 1960s where she meets her idol — a dazzling young rising star. Nevertheless, the London of the 1960s is not what it seems.

This is a wonderful setup for Ellie but the lines between reality and fantasy soon begin to blur, and Ellie's dream quickly turns into a nightmare. Cowritten with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“1917”), Wright's “Last Night in Soho” is funny and chaotic, sleek and elegant, and dissolves into its puzzling second half.

The way McKenzie plays Ellie is reminiscent of her as Tom in “Leave No Trace.” She is a stranger caught in a strange land, trying to mend her disconnection from a parent. She uses her 1960s nostalgia as a safety net, eventually buying period-appropriate clothes and dying her hair blonde.

The initial premise of "Last Night in Soho" is also striking. For example, during a taxi ride the driver starts commenting on her legs and wants to know if other models live with her. Wright wants to make this film not just a warning against blind nostalgia, but a critique of toxic men.

This center hook alludes to the theme. When Ellie is sleeping she suddenly sees another character named Sandy. She then becomes Sandy and through ingenious effects and staging, she is shown descending the staircase of a trendy and fabulous 1960s club. In front of her is a wall made of mirrors. On one side is Sandy’s reflections and on the other is Ellie’s.

Where Wright's film starts to falter is with its villain. You see, Sandy comes under the watchful eye of Jack (played by Matt Smith), an agent who represents all of the girls. He uses his thirst for fame against Sandy by promising to help her career. The character’s premise is sound, but Wright does not build the character enough to make him more of a bogeyman.
More than another woke film about the victimization of women throughout time, “Last Night in Soho” is a skillful thriller that is masterfully directed by Wright.

He films beautifully and his work is covered in a veil of mystery, and the harmonious script is full of good ideas that come to life on the screen.
However, one is left wondering if the author of the script, often accused of clumsiness in the past, wants to lead the audience — little by little — into discovering that the film contains aspects of other genres.

The unenthusiastic, adolescent woman in the first sequences follows another through hints of cinema noir, thriller, fantasy, and then horror.

In the end, Wright's dive into the feminist pamphlet is relevant. It escapes the blandness of Netflix's thematic avatars to provide a dense, generously cinematographic work. More consistent for adults than his hollow teenage soundtrack that was “Baby Driver.”

Rather quickly, “Last Night in Soho’s” second propels the film. We gradually realize that when Jack took Sandy under his wing, it was less so to make her the new star of Broadway than for his own ambitions.

Then begins the descent into hell for Sandy, which Ellie follows closely, especially as she begins to have visions, pursued by a specter of Jack and his army of predatory men. This brings us to the heart of the film's purpose, which succeeds in conveying all the anguish that patriarchal domination can arouse in its victims.

Beyond its feminist message, “Last Night in Soho” strongly evokes the current tendency to idealize the past.

The film concludes with a rather unexpected revelation, which reveals the whole point: it’s better to detach oneself from the obsessions of the past, and instead use it as a guide. Focus on the present.

A flashy and sublime work, deeply haunted by its ghosts, “Last Night in Soho” is a hallucinatory, mystical, and magical trip to the 1960s. With his multifaceted horror-thriller, Wright is reinventing himself.

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