Directed by: Edgar Wright

Run time: 116min

Starring: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Diana Rigg, Matt Smith

Last Night in Soho is the latest flick brought to us by the talented Edgar Wright, and with previous installments such as Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver, Soho is all but guaranteed to be a sure thing.

But what really kicks this movie into high gear, are the two female leads and absolute stars of the show. The duo are showing Hollywood they’ve got the talent to do great things, and one of them just happens to be a homegrown Kiwi.

First up though is Anya Taylor-Joy. A familiar face to moviegoers and Netflix fans alike, and not just because of her unique look that makes her stand out in a crowd. This girl’s got skills and she never disappoints.

Taylor-Joy was the only thing good in Split (okay, James McAvoy was alright I guess), she wowed horror fans as a teenage Puritan in The Witch, and she had us all cheering for her as a chess phenom in The Queen’s Gambit.

So it’s no surprise that Taylor-Joy nails the character of Sandie, a beautiful and tragic wannabe singer in 1960s London.

But then, there’s Thomasin McKenzie. A New Zealand girl born in Windy Welly, she’s done a few TV shows (hello Shortland Street!), landed a lead role in the critically acclaimed drama Leave No Trace, and if you’re one of the few people saw M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, you’ll recognize her as the 16 year old version of Maddox.

Last Night in Soho allows McKenzie a chance to really flex those scream queen muscles, and her character Eloise is a naïve, modern day girl, with an obsession for everything Swingin’ 60s, and an “I see dead people” kind of problem.

McKenzie is the embodiment of innocence as young Eloise, experiencing the urban sprawl of London for the first time, and we can’t help but root for her as she struggles to fight her way into the cutthroat world of fashion design.

When Eloise’s gentle, country girl nature makes her a big ol’ target for mean-girl flatmate Jocasta (single names only please), we cheer for her as she escapes into the big city to rent a garlic-infused room from a matronly old lady (played by Diana Rigg).

But instead of her nightly dreams being filled with sewing machines and catwalks, she’s magically transported back to 1960s Swinging London, and given an intimate look into the life of the alluring Sandie.

The dream sequences here are full of glamour and lushness, showcasing the music and fashion of this party-time decade, and we happily fall down the rabbit hole with Eloise to watch Sandie’s story unfold.

But eventually, Eloise’s toxic bubble of nostalgia pops, and a disgusting layer of pond scum settles on the effervescent surface. Things unravel quickly and both actresses do an amazing job of riding the crazy train all the way to the grand finale in a fiery blaze of glory.

Is Last Night in Soho a perfect movie? Well, no. There’s more than a few characters whose existence is confusing and unnecessary, and when they’re finally killed off, it’s unclear if we, as an audience, should be happy or sad about their demise.

It also feels like Soho is trying to communicate an important cultural message, but whatever it is gets lost in the rest of the story, and feels muddled and not properly thought out.

And yet, the story of Eloise and Sandie is so compelling, it keeps us coming back for more. We have to know what becomes of the small town girl with big city dreams, and we want to find out how deeply intertwined the lives of these two young women are.

Last Night in Soho is a fun watch, and if you’re able to look past some of the technical difficulties, it’s full of stunning imagery, and strong performances from McKenzie and Taylor-Joy. Fingers crossed we see more spooky stuff from Kiwi girl Thomasin McKenzie in the future.

3 warm pints out of 5

Have you seen Last Night in Soho? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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