See How They Run – Review. 

Rating:12A                                                                                                                                                       Cast: Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, David Oyelowo, Ruth Wilson, Harris Dickinson and Pearl Chandra.                                                 Directed by Tom George.                                                                                              Written by Mark Chappell.                                             Length: 98mins. 

See How They Run is a brilliantly likable whodunnit spoof centred on Agatha Christie’s long running play, The Mousetrap. It is expanded as a brutal homicide takes place backstage in its London West End theatre in 1953 during a party celebrating 100 performances. 

The concept see’s a brash Hollywood director (Brody) who plans to transition the famous play to a movie who, after seeing him upset one or two of our company, is murdered in the costume department. Sam Rockwell is brought in as lead investigating officer with an overeager, movie loving assistant (Ronan) to take charge of the situation and solve the murder under the scrutiny of their seniors. 

There’s a very entertaining silliness to See How They Run and I actually think it’s a brilliantly clever idea. While widely described as a spoof – it takes itself very seriously which is the main reason it works, there’s no slapstick here. Director Tom George appears to deeply trust his script, written by Mark Chappell, and allows the humour to flow from the dialogue, of course, through deeply hilarious performers – particularly Ronan with her doe-eyed expressions, innocent optimism and wonderful comic timing. With the confidence in the dialogue, it allows the director to really play with the cinematography which has a kind of Wes Anderson feel to it.  

Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell are a duo that work wonderfully well together, two very experienced actors who throw everything into the quirky characters that they have in front of them. The ensemble cast is not lacking in experience either – David Oyelowo fits beautifully into his role as the scorned writer, Brody seems to enjoy his time as the cocky director turned victim and honestly there’s not really a weak link in the whole cast. 

Part of this movies genius is that it’s not trying to trick the audience. The villain isn’t necessarily obvious, but you can comfortably walk down the path they lead you and probably work it out before the big reveal – allowing the audience the satisfaction of feeling a part of the mystery without having to pay too much attention and to enjoy the moments of poking fun at perhaps more serious films in the same genre. 

This is an easy film with no pretensions, entirely without the deadly seriousness with which Agatha Christie is now adapted and is the opportunity to watch some world class performers having a bit of fun. It’s nice to see Tom George making some creative choices that aren’t necessarily the obvious ones and is well written by Mark Chappell. I would absolutely recommend going to see this film in the cinema, particularly for a bit of a laugh and a solid dose of escapism.  

Pistol – Review

Cast: Toby Wallace, Anson Boon, Louis Partridge, Christian Lees, Sydney Chandler, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Tallulah Riley
Directed by Danny Boyle
Based on the novel by Steve Jones
Length: 270mins

I’m sure if you asked any of the members of the Sex Pistols back in 1977 what they thought of Disney, there’d most likely follow a string of profanities too lurid to be repeated amongst the pages of such an innocent blog as this. The punk band which formed amongst a culture of truly unique characters, with genuine belief in what they stood for, and the energy to fight what they stood against, the Pistols made their mark on British culture in a way many would compare to that of a teabag left too long upon a newspaper. But in truth their revolutionary attitudes, style and most importantly, music, has influenced generations to follow. Of course, no such historical event can take place without a fictionalised account being retold within the annuls of film or tv history, meaning the story of a truly radical group has been left in the entirely opposingly sanitary hands of conglomerate Disney, as well as revered director Danny Boyle, who may still find traces of dirt beneath his fingernails from the grit of his early films.

There’s a lot to tell in a story such as this. Guitarist Steve Jones’ maintains the basis of the plot this time round, but when placed beside previous films about the era – Julien Temples’ enigmatic ‘The Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle’, or the desolation of Alex Coxs’ ‘Sid and Nancy’ – the truth can become more of a forgotten commodity. Despite this, the six fourty-five minute episodes manage to cover most of the key events – John Lydon’s infamous jukebox audition in Viv Westwoods’ ‘SEX’ shop, the truly unforgettable Bill Grundy interview, as well as later acts of anarchic wisdom, such as the House of Commons-adjacent boat trip performance by the band. It’s such a rich story, filled with history in the forms of people, clothing, attitudes and sound, that these key elements of the story can all be utilised to draw in the viewer, allowing them to understand in greater detail why such a rebellion in the late 1970’s came into being.

As an actual TV series, ‘Pistol’ does take an episode or two to find its feet. The opening feels as if it caters far too much to an audience overly-familiar with the shortcomings of social media. Over-dramatised police chases and unrelated party sequences are delivered through an unrelenting average shot length of probably around one second. Each beat overloads the audience more and more, whilst romanticising what would have been a desolate, post-war London landscape, to be a time of excitement and constant rebellion. However, as the band begins to take their place, and the settings establish themselves more clearly, the show really falls into a groove which carries through until the final curtain. John Lydon was the first to say that the creators hadn’t done it my way, but overall the six episodes deliver a story which informs those unfamiliar with the band on what they really represented, as well as delivering an entertaining and entrancing reimagining of this long since passed era to Pistols fans worldwide.

Particular standouts lie in the performances of Johnny Rotten imitator Anson Boon, as well as ever-punchable Thomas Brodie-Sangster reincarnating the sleaze of band manager Malcolm McLaren. The sound production is also a highlight, with each performance given by the band feeling as powerful as first recordings, matching the energy of later-spliced in original performances from shows of the time. Such a story also couldn’t get away without being commented on unless the fashion was mentioned. Vivianne Westwood’s iconic approach to clothing is perhaps what ties the entire late-seventies punk movement together. No scene through the series is complete without a band member or two adorning a purposefully provocative or obscene shirt. Jackets and trousers that your parents would either be horrified by, or become the root of their envy saunter through London streets, carrying within them the grand cast of characters who are set to make history.

The Sex Pistols are no British secret. Their lives and musical story is known amongst a great number of people, and most of those who have at least a vaguely decent interest in the band will probably look upon a Disney+ limited series telling their tale as only greater evidence that nothing good can last. However, although this is most likely true, there’s something to be appreciated about the shows’ ability to revive this past era, taking us back through the lives of Steve Jones, John Lydon, Paul Cook, Glen Matlock and Sid Vicious one more time.

Fisherman’s Friends: One and All – Review.

Rating: 12A Cast: James Purefoy, Sam Swainsbury, Dave Johns and Richard Hainsworth. Directed by Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft. Written by Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft. Length: 111mins. 

Fisherman’s Friends: One and All is the follow up to 2019’s surprise hit ‘Fisherman’s Friends’, the tale of a group of rough and ready fishermen who become recording artists after a music executive spots them while on holiday in Cornwall. Based on a true story it was just so very British – it was nice, featured a few catchy tunes, saw normal people succeed and gave a gorgeous glimpse into the Cornish coast and coastal life. While the first film sat nicely with audiences, was there enough story to make a sequel? 

In short, probably not. But that hasn’t stopped audiences attending the cinema for a pleasant viewing – and that’s what you get. I can’t imagine anyone watching expecting a blockbuster.  

The story picks up where the first left off. The harmonising fishermen have a top 10 album and a sell out show under their belts but with their record label asking questions over the chances continued success, some members of the group (and their families) struggling with minor fame and the group leader, Jim, in the midst of grief for the loss of his father. The premise is relatively simple; the group need a new member who once joins clashes significantly with Jim and Jim faces personal issues around substance abuse. 

It’s a little scrappy and with a moment of high tension involving an accident at a derelict mine which seems random and a little out of place, it manages to maintain some of the charm of the first film but lacks a little magic ‘something’. While breezing over the themes of bereavement, substance abuse and male mental health issues it doesn’t really address anything and feels slightly like some issues were thrown in to appear progressive but just back out of any commitment to in depth themes. It was almost an interesting conversation where they matched small town, coastal folk with traditional opinions faced with a chance to learn about contemporary societal issues however, again, it felt like they took the safe route and backed out, throwing a bit of humour around the subject and trundling on through. 

Its heart is undoubtedly in the right place but is quite predictable and the clash between simple fishermen and sharp London suits running the record label was covered in the first film. Having said this, it is an easy watch. The music is still entertaining and the light hearted nature of the film is just ‘nice’; a word often used as a negative but sometimes ‘nice’ is what we need. 

Jaws – Review

Rating: 12A
Cast: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Murray Hamilton and Lorraine Gray
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb
Length: 124mins

After forty-seven years of returning to the big screen, the original, and perhaps most iconic blockbuster takes its place amongst the cinema listings once again, with a 4K restoration which promises to bring the enigmatically large molars of its title into greater definition and grandeur than ever. Of course, this is a film remembered for its terrifying Great White more than anything else, but if time has proven one thing, it’s that the exceptional writing and compelling characters which brings this tale of man versus shark to the front of the billing time and time again.

Speaking of characters, we’ll start with the residents of the idyllic Amity Island – our primary setting for half of the film. Chief Brody is a strong, well-tanned protagonist who seems all set to lead the battle against the threat upon his precinct, save for the fact that he’s constantly too tentative to go near the water, pulling on garishly yellow life preservers, and being shown to appear un-authoritative in the face of his more senior officials. Spielberg and fellow writers Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb carve out a contradictory character who the audience find a level of relatability towards, and use this empathy to create a great leader who must overcome his fears to defeat the greatest threat he faces – himself and his towns’ pleasant residents becoming fish fodder.

The mayor of the town, Larry Vaughn, is perhaps the greatest intentional threat to Amity’s population. A shark can’t help its nature, but Vaughn actively indulges the greed of a booming tourist industry, which comes only at the small cost of potentially dozens of his local residents. Smartly dressed and self-knowingly grinning throughout most of his scenes, Spielberg frames this stereotype of a figure constantly at the edge of great bodies of water – the open ocean, local ponds or graffitied signs advertising the area – but of course, never seen delving into them. A man who knows he has a shark problem on his hands would never be the first to brace the biting depths, no matter the encouragement he gives to those around him. 

Shark aficionado and resident out-of-towner Matt Hooper plays a perfect opposition to the weather-beaten, weary and wisened features of enduring local fishermen Quint, who promises to find the shark for three thousand, but catch him, and kill him, for ten. Though the pair may seem as far apart in character as man-eating shark’s mouth is from its tail, the development of the narrative allows for a determined kinship to grow between the two, as they unite alongside Chief Brody to bring the shark to damning justice.

‘Jaws’ isn’t great simply because of its characters. It’s endlessly quotable, intelligently and beautifully captured, and also features a Great White swallowing up helpless small-town locals. It’s rare that a blockbuster brings so many elements to life in such a vivid manner, and would set a benchmark for the calibre of filmmaking that would come to be delivered from Spielberg over the course of a number of decades. But if there’s one story of his that I find myself returning to over and over again, it’s a story of three troubled men, hoping to find some peace in the death of a wild animal.

The Gray Man – Review. 

Rating: 15 Cast: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas, Billy Bob Thornton and Rege-Jean Page. Written by Joe Russo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Length: 122mins. 

With an all-star cast led by Ryan Gosling as a CIA hitman on the run, The Gray Man feels like it’s set to challenge for action film of the year and with the Russo brothers at the helm most audiences lead with high expectations. You can definitely grasp the influence of other films in the choices behind many elements, but unfortunately it feels more like a ‘copy and paste’ of the filmmakers favourites rather than something fresh and exciting around moments of inspiration. 

The plot is this – while in prison ‘six’ (Gosling) is approached and offered a chance at freedom if he agrees to train as a highly skilled assassin for the CIA, but when a mission goes wrong he finds himself being hunted and holding incriminating evidence of his employer and a game of cat and mouse ensues with no real surprises. 

The writing lacks imagination and on a whole the film’s flimsy appearance manages to makes exotic locations feel cheap, and with some action scenes looking more like video game footage than thought through motion picture. At its centre is a tale where nearly every character feels cut from the cloth of a spy movie parody, exhibiting extreme stereotypes which just feels like a waste considering the talent that they had to play with. 

The characters are the interesting part for me. With Six they attempt give him something of a heart, by introducing the complication of Fitz’s kidnapped niece but Six isn’t so much a person as he is a mixture of cinematic ideas, none of which are given space for Gosling to develop which seems ridiculous in a film of this length. Rege-Jean Page is a convincing bad guy who doesn’t want to get his hands dirty, Chris Evans is solid – not great but again with the cartoonish villian that he was given with the script I think he’s fine and Ana De Armas is brilliant in everything she does, but definitely one of the performers that was ‘wasted’ in this production. Her part could have had so much more intrigue and depth than it did. 

The Gray Man is fine. It’s an okay action watch but is a product of too many conflicting approaches with no unifying vision, famous and talented faces that are capable of so much more and writing that lacks imagination. It was significantly too long for me and I found I didn’t really care for the plot and therefore disengaged with the film fairly early on.  

Nope – Review

Rating: 15
Featuring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea and Michael Wincott
Written and Directed by Jordan Peele
Length: 131mins

Richard Burton and Johnny Depp, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, Wes Anderson and Bill Murray. There are a great number of classic director/actor combinations which have developed throughout the years, and the dynamic duo of Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya seems to be creeping up amongst them. The intelligent and thoughtful gaze of Kaluuya compliments the eerie and unpredictable nature of Peele’s stories, in a manner which reflects the audience’s own ideas, but perhaps in an even calmer way. The horror and thrill of Peele’s recent – and already impressive – back catalogue (Get Out, Us, Nope), may contain moments to make an audience leap from their seats, but would only get a slight widening of the eyes from his leading man. Although Kaluuya remains absent within 2019’s ‘Us’, the madness of ‘Get Out’ and this years’ ‘Nope’, can be explored in even more tender detail thanks to the brilliance of this director-performer combination.

Jordan Peele has absolutely reached a stage now where he can truly go in any direction he likes. His 2017 breakthrough onto the filmmaking scene, ‘Get Out’, showcased talents which were reinforced within the sophomore release, ‘Us’. For this third film, maintaining originality whilst also wanting to repeat the success of his previous work may have been a difficult task, but ‘Nope’ delivers one of the most exciting and original thrillers I’ve seen in recent years. Plotlines, ideas, and characters all lead the story into fascinating avenues that are unlikely for any audiences to hypothesise about before taking their seat. Although the motivation behind some actions, or the plotlines of some characters, can at times seem slightly erratic or untidily rushed, the film mostly delivers one exciting turn after another, resulting in perhaps the strongest film from Peele since ‘Get Out’. 

As for the story of ‘Nope’, I can’t recommend enough going in with as little knowledge as possible. Even those with a vague understanding of the concept or plot line will still be in for a treat though, as the film revolves around the sci-fi genre in a manner which hasn’t felt this intriguing since Denis Villenvues’ ‘Arrival’ in 2013. Although completely different films, both come as the work of a director firmly hitting their stride, as they explore ideas which were present in their previous films, but begin to traverse completely new regions in equal, or greater measure. 

Of course the story is great, the performances work well within the context of the story, but also this is just a film which looks incredible. The colour palette is consistently dusty and barren throughout, to match the horse ranch setting, but moments of dynamic and colourful imagery, dotted precisely throughout, re-engage the audience with their fascinating composition. Whether that be a setting as simple as a supermarket, late-night diner, or live television set from decades ago, each scene holds the audiences gaze in a well-crafted way so as to constantly reinforce the idea that these are people mixed up in an exciting and unpredictable adventure.

Definitely not the creepiest or most thrilling of his films, I would most likely categorise Peele’s new film as more of sci-fi/western/adventure. In fact, aside from the occasional intensity of a small handful of scenes, many of the supposedly more edge-of-your-seat moments, play out beautifully thanks to the incredible composition and set designs of the visuals. Though it may not contain the social and political depth of ‘Get Out’ – at least not any that has surfaced so far – ‘Nope’ is a film which simply makes for compelling viewing. A perfect cinema film.

Where the Crawdads Sing – Review.

Rating:15 Cast: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickenson and David Strathairn. Directed by Olivia Newman. Written by Lucy Alibar (screenplay) and Delia Owens (based on the novel by). Length: 125mins. 

The film is set in the beautiful and dangerous marshland of North Carolina in the 50s and 60s, a place ‘where the crawdads sing’. Edgar-Jones plays Kya, a young woman who has basically raised herself in a remote shack deep in the marshland. She’s had to learn to survive when her drunken and violent Pa drove her mother and siblings away after years of domestic abuse; that is until her Pa dies leaving her to fend for herself. As a teenager Kya is basically on her own, making a living by selling mussels to the local store, roaming wild and free on the wetlands in her boat and drawing pictures of the nature that she’s so at one with. This unusual lifestyle separates Kya from the ‘normality’ of the townsfolk and she is treated with contempt by most, with few allies and, once an adult, catches the attention of two young men. The first, Tate, taught her to read and encouraged her artistic talents but soon went off to study. The second, Chase, picks up the pieces of her somewhat broken heart and does his best to win her affection… 

The opening scenes of the film show the discovery of a dead body in the marshland, the body belonging to Chase. He’s a popular man about town and everyone is in shock at his demise. Considering the location of his body Kya or ‘the marsh girl’ as she’s known becomes the number one suspect and we find our plot. Kya is arrested and the film jumps between her trial and her story. While in the present we see evidence against her and the noble defence of the outcast girl, broken up appropriately with Kya’s upbringing, experiences and life as a young woman all leading up to the moment that Chase lost his life. 

I find films like this to be so interesting. First and foremost, this being based on a best selling book with a large fan base – often when popular books are made into movies there’s an element of disappointment at the result, however every single fan of the book that I spoke to said it was just as good as the book, a rare situation indeed! Secondly, I was baffled by the majority of the critics reviews being so very negative. Yes, this film is not perfect, but for some reason critics seem to focus on unusual elements such as costume choices or details around Kya’s hygiene rather than the plot, performances, direction and cinematography. It seems as though there was an agreed upon opinion for this film from the very beginning, one which I’m pleased to say I disagree with and in speaking to vast audiences, so do the masses. 

I do agree that perhaps the ending is a little cheesy and that there were definitely moments that felt slow, but as a general rule the movie was engaging, interesting and shot beautifully. A personal criticism is the choice in names for the male leads, I found myself forgetting who was Tate and who was Chase as their names were so similar but that is likely just me and not really a criticism at all! Where the Crawdads Sing is a really solid film and I would highly recommend, it’s definitely one to watch to form your own opinions on but it is worth noting that it does include some upsetting scenes. 

Thor: Love and Thunder – Review

Rating: 12A
Featuring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Taika Waititi, Tessa Thompson and Russel Crowe
Directed by Taika Waititi
Length: 119mins

Taika Waititi first made a name for himself as a charming, witty and touching director of some of New Zealand’s finest films, both short and feature length. His ability to create familiarity, particularly when exploring childhood, has won over audiences every step of the way, and a career-beginning with just two second hand motors has flourished into one in which the trappings of a major Marvel franchise rests upon his soldiers.

‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ was all set to deliver the same loveable qualities which made Waititi and Marvel’s first collaboration, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ feel like a fresh bolt of lighting amongst Marvels’ ever-repetitive filmography. The introduction of seasoned professional Christian Bale, as well as the return of equally qualified Natalie Portman promised a new depth to the performances on display. Despite all this, the film sadly feels like a slightly messier, if slightly funnier variation of the same film which Marvel has been repeatedly reproducing for the last decade.

Christian Bale’s introduction as the god-slaying villain ‘Gor’, seems a sizeable enough opposition to Thor’s recently reinstated powers, but serves also as a reminder of how far Marvel’s constant ambition has led, with audiences wondering where they’ll be able to go next in search of a suitable bad guy – perhaps Gaia herself will wage war on the Avengers? Despite Gor’s character arc having a slightly rushed feeling at times, he maintains a status as one of the more vaguely memorable villains within the MCU in recent years, even if it is only the lack of a CGI-disposable army, as well as the film not entirely relying on fisticuffs to reach its resolution. There’s a little more depth to his origin and intentions which, paired with Bale’s performance, draws the viewer in.

Taika Waititi’s signature humour is somewhat visible amongst the studio influence and desire for establishing future projects which Marvel is known for, but often the jokes within this comedy feel completely off-the-cuff and inconsequential, which isn’t unusual for a Marvel film, but appears as a great contrast amongst the rest of the directors films, which so often are able to intertwine humour with a feeling of the narrative driving forward. This isn’t to say the film should be viewed as any detriment to Waititi’s career. Given the opportunity to direct some of the biggest names and hardest-working crews in the industry, as well as recieve a paycheck sizeable enough to fund plenty of smaller, more director-controlled stories, such as Waititi’s upcoming ‘Next Goal Wins’, I imagine we would all jump to the clap of the puppet masters hands for a little while.

As always, Marvel have released another feature which will most likely be thoroughly enjoyed by those who have a vested interest in the company, whilst being considered as one more among many by most other viewers. It has its moments of enjoyability, intrigue and excitement, but does little to rise above anything else we’ve seen from this fantastical universe in recent years.

Minions: The Rise of Gru – Review 

Rating: U Cast: Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin, Alan Arkin, Russell Bran and Julie Andrews. Directed by Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson and Jonathan del Val. Written by Matthew Fogel and Brian Lynch. Length: 87mins.

Minions: The Rise of Gru is the second of the Minions movies (its prequel opening in 2015) and is a spin off series of films from the hit movie trilogy – Despicable Me. It’s not difficult to see why film makers have jumped on this opportunity. When the small yellow minions took a supporting role in the original trilogy their silliness, gobbeldy-goop language and obsession with bananas stole the hearts of many children (and adults) across the world. But how many stories can be told about this group of minions? In this new release, film makers take us back to Gru’s childhood, with a glimpse of how the minions joined Gru and on an adventure to assist Gru to his dream; becoming the world’s greatest super villain. 

The story is relatively simple, no surprises there…Gru wants to join the vicious six (a league of the most evil super villains) when they kick out one of their own. They laugh Gru off for being a child so Gru steals from them and ends up being kidnapped by the wronged villain who is no longer in the ‘gang’ and the minions take it upon themselves to rescue Gru. With the minions splitting up – one on a mission to regain what was stolen and three determined to find and rescue Gru we get to follow our little yellow heroes along their adventure. The plot changes direction a couple of times but lets be honest – audiences aren’t really there for a gripping adventure plot. 

While full of slapstick style gags, the humour is average; unlike the Despicable Me films which didn’t fail to make audiences of all ages laugh. The good news is that Minions: The Rise of Gru is quite a short film and so didn’t feel like too much of a waste of time. It seems to be a film that will pack in audiences purely for it’s previous charm and history – I don’t think anyone really cares about the quality of the content.  

I wouldn’t tell anyone to rush out and see Minions: The Rise of Gru. If it’s raining and you’re looking for a way to waste an hour or two then it’s a perfectly reasonable way to entertain the children, but other than that, you wont miss anything from not watching it. I imagine they’ll make more minion movies but it’s just a money making thing at this point. They know children love minions and will just throw any old storyline together to produce something for them to watch while the dollars flow in through the box office.  

Last Night in Soho – Review

Rating: 15
Featuring: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Rita Tushingham and Michael Ajao
Directed by Edgar Wright
Length: 117mins

Over the last twenty-odd years, Edgar Wright has slowly and surely been establishing a clear and exciting style for himself, which makes its mark through impeccable timing, a great attention to detail, and simply a feeling of joy and excitement shining through in his work – showing that directing really is his true calling. At the turn of the millennium, Wrights’ hilarious and fascinating take on the sitcom genre won over a large crowd of British TV viewers. His later ‘Cornetto’ trilogy would have the same effect on the next generation of British moviegoers, and you’d be hard pressed to find any young adult on this island who couldn’t finish the quote, “No luck catching them swans then…” In more recent years, action-packed ‘Baby Driver’ would catch eyes and ears on a more global stage – particularly within Hollywood – through its eclectic soundtrack and constant feeling of rhythm – skills honed by the director since the very start of all of this. As a result you’d expect his latest film, ‘Last Night in Soho’ – a high budget thriller with huge names attached, appearing under the credit of a director who so far doesn’t have seemed to have missed a beat his entire career, to have moviegoers queuing around the block, with rave reviews following soon after. And yet things don’t seem to have quite panned out that way.

For this review, the term ‘latest’ is probably a littler generous. ‘Last Night in Soho’ reached UK cinemas in October of last year, but has more recently been creeping its way into households through its addition to various streaming services. Despite this, as well the previously mentioned number of attributes attached to the film, it seems to have all passed by with very little fanfare. Described frequently as ‘disappointing’, ‘underwhelming’ and at times, strangely rough around the edges compared to Wrights’ previous filmography, and I can’t say I completely disagree.

The film explores the supernatural connection which forms between a young, nostalgic fashion designer named Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), who’s just beginning her studies at UAL, and similarly aspirational, but seemingly more confident Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy) – a resident of 1960’s Soho with grand aspirations of becoming a famous performer. However, as Eloise bears witness to the progressively-worsening series of horrors which play out for Sandy all those years ago, her own position in the big city seems to become all the more disturbing.

The two lead performers are, of course, really strong, and make for an interesting driving force within the narrative, as despite their intertwining connection, it’s rare that the two ever communicate. Like a false mirror, Eloise is helpless to only watch Sandy’s heartbreaking story, and Sandy seems to remain almost entirely unaware of the presence of the other.

‘Last Night in Soho’ deals with some deeply traumatic themes, and uses the thriller/horror genre to explore the root of these issues. It’s not an entirely new idea, but one that can work extremely well if executed with a deep consideration and clear perspective for such a story. Films like ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me’ spring to mind. However, unlike these classic films, Wrights approach with the subject matter of the film feels misguided, and, at times, straight up uncomfortable – a far cry from his reputation as an extremely concise director in terms of his storytelling ability.

The visual style too seems extremely unlike previous works such as ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Scott Pilgrim’, which really holds back a film which aspires to create tension and thrills, as what is shown, or perhaps not shown, remains a key element to having the audience digging their fingernails into any unfortunate sofa cushion.

Of course, to measure the failure of a filmmaker against their previous successes does, in this case, highlight ‘Last Night in Soho’ as an anomaly within Wright’s body of work. It still has some interesting and exciting moments both visually, and in terms of narrative, and would probably work well as a throwaway evenings’ viewing, but will hopefully be looked back on more as a small blip in the career of an otherwise extremely innovative modern director.