Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson Cairns Dissect 'Last Night in Soho'

Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh/Focus Features
In the era of "nostalgia," Edgar Wright talks about digging into the darker side of the past...

So much time is spent these days reminiscing. We bring back old movies, television shows, books, and stories to craft modern drama. We relive the past, seeking comfort and familiarity. 

It's not a new phenomenon, but it feels like it's become an overpowering one. 

In his latest genre-mashing thriller co-written with Kristy Wilson Cairns, Edgar Wright takes a sober look at the power of nostalgia as a muse. Were the good old days really all that good? 

In watching Last Night in Soho, I was struck by how Wright and Cairns crafted a "reliving the past" narrative that felt so similar to watching a movie. The entire experience was super self-reflexive, or meta. 

Thomasin McKenzie's Eloise is off to London to become a fashion designer, living what is her dream but also the dream of her deceased mother (whose ghost haunts her, literally and figuratively). Anya Talyor-Joy is a co-lead as the muse Sandy from 1960s London's swinging scene that Eloise follows each night through her dreams.

When dream crosses reality and past crosses present is where the horror elements come into play, evoking one of the great movies of all time, Vertigo, among others. 

The movie dances dangerously with very real and serious topics like sexual assault and trauma, while also being at times a light horror romp akin to some of Wright's earlier films. 

It's a tricky balance to pull off. Wright is never shy about pushing original content into spaces between genres, and this movie is no different. 

It was illuminating to hear Wright and Cairns talk about the research involved, the careful approach, the mixture of their passion for the music and look of the 1960s, but also the very real horror they centered their plot around. 

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This episode of The No Film School Podcast was produced by George Edelman.

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