Last Night in Soho and French Dispatch
Two art films, see Last Night in Soho and drink heavily before buying a ticket for The French Dispatch.
Last Night in Soho
As noted, the movie industry has sent us two art films to distract us from traditional Halloween movies. Let’s start with the best one, Last Night in Soho.
I was challenged by the simple fact that Director Edgar Wright previously brought us the engaging Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007) and Baby Driver (2017). As it turned out, I was not disappointed.
In summary fashion, Eloise, played by the dynamic Thomasin McKenzie, is a fashion student who has moved to London. She quickly has surreal nighttime adventures when she sees Thunderball with Sean Connery on a blazing marquee and realizes that she is back in 1960’s London.
But things get worse when she is transformed into Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a blonde lounge singer. They become mirror images of each other as Sandie descends into a sexual hell, becoming a victim of men in the audience under the guidance of sinister nightclub charmer played by Matt Smith.
What ensues is a horror story where both Eloise and Sandie try to survive. At times they can’t tell fact from fiction and neither can you.
But the film has some powerful performances beginning with Ms. McKenzie and Ms. Taylor-Joy. Both have emerged as special actresses as seen by the former in Leave No Trace (2018) and JoJo Rabbit (2019), and the latter in The Queen’s Gambit (2020).
In addition, watch for the legendary Diana Rigg in her final performance as she plays Eloise’s landlady with a hidden past. Also, the memorable Terence Stamp plays a menacing street nuisance who haunts Eloise to perfection.
Finally, what escalates this dark film to a special level is its soundtrack. Songs range from “A World Without Love” (Peter and Gordon), “Wishin’ and Hopin'” (Dusty Springfield) and “Love is Like a Heat Wave” (The Who), to name a few.
This film will not disappoint you movie fans.
The French Dispatch
Let me be short and not so sweet with this review. If you want to see a great Wes Anderson film, then skip this one and revisit The Royal Tenebaums (2001), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), or Isle of Dogs (2018), to name a few.
Filled with a great cast ranging from Benicio del Toro, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Timothy Chalamet, Owen Wilson and Bill Murray, this film fails to capture their great talent. It tells the story of a suspended newspaper, The French Dispatch, trying to republish three articles after the editor (Murray) dies. The movie becomes completely disconnected as it attempts to recreate these articles in a cinematic form.
You are warned.