‘Last Night in Soho’ reviews: Critics weigh in on Edgar Wright’s time-hopping thriller

Long-delayed and highly anticipated among his fans, Edgar Wright’s first narrative film since “Baby Driver” has finally arrived in theaters. “Last Night in Soho” is Wright’s love letter to Hammer horror, the films of Brian De Palma, and the 1960s music scene — while also serving as a dark cautionary tale about looking back at the past with a hazy and uncritical nostalgia. “You cannot change what’s happened,” Wright said in an interview with the New York Times this week. “You can only deal with it in the future.”

Starring breakout actresses Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy, as well as legendary British performers Terrence Stamp and the late Diana Rigg in her final role, “Last Night in Soho” focuses on a young woman in present-day London (McKenzie) who forms an unusual psychological bond with a 1960s singer (Taylor-Joy). As with “Baby Driver,” Wright’s biggest box office success and a three-time Oscar nominee in the sound mixing, sound editing, and editing categories, “Last Night in Soho” is loaded with top-flight crafts: its sound, editing, cinematography, costumes, and production design are all impressive and could compete in the below-the-line categories at year-end awards ceremonies. Both McKenzie and Taylor-Joy, meanwhile, acquit themselves well — particularly Taylor-Joy, who gets to showcase some different shades of herself following her award-winning turn in “The Queen’s Gambit.”

“Last Night in Soho” premiered at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year, and while reviews out of that debut were slightly muted, critics have been more kind to the Wright feature in the time since. “It’s exciting to see the 47-year-old Wright follow up his biggest hit (and, in my opinion, worst movie) ‘Baby Driver’ by trying his hand at new things, rather than serving up the sequel that fans of that movie have been clamoring for since 2017,” Dana Stevens wrote for Slate.

“As the stakes escalate, the film’s moralities, and loyalties, start to waver. This visual and aural feast does have a stumble or two on the dance floor, though in the 11th hour, Wright manages to right the ship,” added Katie Walsh for the Los Angeles Times.

“Nothing in Wright’s previous work quite prepared me for ‘Last Night in Soho,’ its easy seductiveness and spikes of sophistication,” wrote Jeanette Catsoulis for the New York Times. “Dissolving the border between present and past, fact and fantasy, the director (aided by the euphoric talents of the cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung) has produced some of the most dazzling imagery of his career.”

“Last Night in Soho” is currently out in theaters via Focus Features and holds a 75 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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