"Last Night in Soho" can't quite make it through the evening
Last Night in Soho
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp, Rita Tushingham and Margaret Ann Nolan. Written by Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns. Directed by Edgar Wright. Opens Friday at theatres everywhere. 116 minutes. PG
I really wanted to love this movie, as I do many of Edgar Wright’s genre-blending films.
Alas, "Last Night in Soho" is a case of love unrequited.
Wright likes to mix things up — witness his zombie comedy “Shaun of the Dead” — so a psycho-thriller with a time-travel premise nicked from “Austin Powers” is second nature to him.
Split between present-day London and Swinging London of the 1960s, "Last Night" stars Thomasin McKenzie as shy fashion student Eloise and Anya Taylor-Joy as exuberant nightclubber Sandie. Some through-the-looking-glass magic brings them together across time and space as two sides of the same woman.
The combo spells trouble, and it stars off so well: a burst of music and energy as a candy-coloured Swinging Sixties tribute in David Lynch mode. Think of Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” set in London instead of L.A., with a fab ’60s pop soundtrack.
Minds royally flip when Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip in “The Crown,” arrives as a fellow night crawler. Watch also for ’60s icons Dame Diana Rigg and Margaret Ann Nolan, both recently departed, in their final screen appearances.
Midway through, Wright abruptly shifts into a lurid homage to Italian giallo horror films, breaking the spell and losing my allegiance. That’s one tribute too many, Edgar. 🌗
(This review originally appeared in the Toronto Star.)