Not as compulsive or impressionistic as it aggravating and synthetic is the stylish, campy chiefly London-set psychological drama.
From Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) comes Last Night in Soho starring Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy who earned many followers in The Queen’s Gambit. A macabre kind of exorbitance has the filmmaker and writer in variable moods that leaves it as forgettable as glamorously unpredictable.
A coming-of-age jaunt will shift into ominous territory with a broadness of augmenting apprehension as pictures like Midnight in Paris and much earlier Repulsion may be influenced. With the encroaching of waking life into the subconsciousness as an idolized individual is furthering ambitions into the eponymous nightclub scene of the 1960s.
McKenzie is fashion design school newbie Ellie heading into a career occupied by her late mother. A rowdy disdainfulness takes her to the frank, business-like Mrs. Collins, the late Diana Rigg (remembered way back as Emma Peel). It allows for a doppelgänger of sorts in Taylor-Joy’s starry crooner Sandie whose manger Jack (Matt Smith) sets up a dynamic that Ellie finds quite unsettling.
Discerning what the characters are going through is convincing enough in a contrasting way as (ethereal) poise leads to uncertainty as a startling development takes a toll on the creativity (especially in the imagery) between Ellie and Sadie. How the plot unfolds almost in carnival fashion neutralizes the empathetic and riveting qualities McKenzie (Old) and Taylor-Joy (Emma) happen to provide.
How a couple of underlying characters relate to the central ‘duo’ doesn’t really have the impact that Rigg has in her scenes as a once proud dame (This is London) as well as a shady, stealthy pub-dweller in the venerable Terence Stamp (The Limey).
You can’t say that Wright doesn’t pull out an impressionistic, histrionic display to register a terrorizing aura. Yet the outrageousness is going over the edge to underscore a nostalgia as well as sleaze just keeps the emotionality and entertainment of Last Night in Soho ephemeral.
The dance scenes are spectacularly performed by the Taylor-Joy and McKenzie along one male partner. The twisting in and out of the scenes is handled brilliantly. Also Steven King would have loved the final conclusion.