Last Night in Soho Review

A look into the setting of Last Night in Soho

A look into the setting of Last Night in Soho

Caitlin Musser, Reporter

Last Night in Soho directed by Edgar Wright came out on October 29th and has been a conversation piece and sensation since. The psychological thriller and horror movie examines past and present treatment of woman in London, and a scary look into an individual’s mental illness. Main character Ellie Turner (Thomasin McKenzie) is a new fashion student in London and recovering from ‘visions’ of her deceased mother. She travels to London alone and without any friends and quickly realizes it is a scary place in the streets and in her dreams. On Ellie’s first night in a new apartment after narrowly escaping living with cliquey roommates, she puts on her 60s swing in her 60s apartment and falls asleep, only her dream is more than vivid, and scarily real.

Alexandra “Sandie” Collins (Anya Taylor-Joy) is an aspiring performer in the peak of 60s London, she goes to a club in hopes to convince the owner into signing her, but instead captures the attention of a talent manager, Jack, who dances with her. Sandie dances in a pleated pink tent dress that is later a major inspiration for Ellie and her style. During the night Sandie charms Jack and he charms her as well. Ellies wakes up as Sandie and Jack happily retires for the night. Over the next several days Ellie is inspired by Sandie’s dress and begins to draft it at her fashion school, much to her professor’s praise, she also tries a new blonde style strongly channeling Sandie’s bob. That night Ellie dreams of Sandie again, only it isn’t as delightful as it previously was, Jack has convinced Sandie that to be famous she has to use and sell her body, Ellie can feel Sandie’s betrayal and humiliation. As Sandie tries to escape the first horrors of her tentative career, the true colors of the industry scare her and instill a strong sense of hopelessness in both the characters and the audience.

Over the next month or so, Ellie is equally terrorized and inspired by the enigmatic and melancholy life of Sandie. The more she dreams the more she loses touch with her sanity and sense. A possible love interest and schoolmate, John, tries to befriend Ellie and does to an extent, but unfortunately the horrors Ellie sees at night invade her life awake. She starts to act erratically and hunt for Sandie’s killer, which she believes she saw in her dreams. The plot of the movie starts to speed up and as Ellie thinks to have found Sandie’s killer, but in turn falls deeper into paranoia and delusion. Who Ellie believes it’s modern day Jack, Sandie’s killer and pimp, she accidently injures him during a heated conversation in the streets of Soho. Instead, she learns after, the man was not Jack, but Lindsay, a police officer who tried to help Sandie in the 60s, but who’s efforts ended in vain. Ellie is traumatized by her mistake and starts to see the mangled faces of Sandie’s abusive ‘clients’. After almost hurting Jocasta, her former roommate and bully, who she believed to be a resurrected client of Sandie, she runs to her apartment. When she arrives, her landlord offers of cup of tea to soothe her obviously distressed state. During this tea Ellie learns that Miss Collins, her frail old landlord is Sandie, and she was equally a victim and an assailant of the nameless faces Ellie dreams about. Miss Sandie Collins knows that Ellie is digging up her past and decides to poison her tea and get rid of the threat to her past. As Ellies starts to fall comatose, John knocks on the door but is stabbed by Miss Collins in a struggle between the two as Ellie purges her tea. The fight is solved when Miss Collins surrenders to Ellie as well as her life, she stays and dies in the fire.

Cut to the end of the movie, Ellie is a successful student and has a healthy relationship with John and her mentality. The movie ends in the inverse of the beginning, Sandie is dancing to the opening song, as Ellie danced to it in the beginning. The Thriller both scared me and made me feel as if I could understand the horrors of mental illness and secrets of the past. The subtle theme of female revenge and exploitation displayed a long-standing societal pressure and challenged it with a vigilante. The movie had breathtaking camerawork and talented actors. Based on all factors I would give Last Night in Soho 4 out of 5 shields. While impressed with the movie I couldn’t help but wish the supernatural elements were instead filled with more of Sandie’s mysterious life. Even though I think it did not earn a perfect score, I would recommend it to movie fans of any genre, it wasn’t quite like any other film I’ve seen and was a new experience to watch.