Movie reviews: ‘Last Night in Soho’ and ‘The French Dispatch’


Riley Hawkinson and Samiyah Young

The French Dispatch Review

By Riley Hawkinson

With distinguished visuals and a new creative lens, Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” is an attempted ode to journalism. Set in a 20th century fictional French town, this film brings to life a collection of vignettes that the newspaper The French Dispatch publishes in one particular issue. Although Anderson has pushed his creativity in this film using animation, a variety of composition, and an interesting delivery of plot, “The French Dispatch” met my expectations set by previous Anderson films: average. 

However, it would be absurd to ignore the aesthetic Anderson displays in “The French Dispatch”. Anderson’s signature use of symmetry is captivating and the small but consistent movement in the background of scenes sparks curiosity. Costume design brings the audience closer to the stories by matching the aesthetic and time period of the film, and the color scheme for each story also seems to subtly match the theme. 

In “The Concrete Masterpiece”, one of the stories, the only pop of color is when the camera’s focus is on the art. By using a general absence of color for the majority of the story, the short existence of color creates a stark contrast, perhaps attempting to make the art in the film “pop” for the audience just as it does for the characters. 

At the end of the day, Anderson’s audience will find it hard to be completely immersed in any of the stories. Although Anderson does a good job peaking interest in the beginning of each story, the intrigue is gone within the first seven minutes. 

In “The Concrete Masterpiece”, the multiple aspects to the story kept me wanting more, but as the plot progressed, it simultaneously got lost. With confusing cuts to different parts of the story, Anderson’s attempt at a new creative style simply didn’t work for this film. The timing for each story was always off, either being too short or too long. 

Aspects of “Revisions of a Manifesto” felt thrown in and rushed in order to give the audience background information, while other seemingly unimportant elements dragged on for what felt like ages. I don’t believe that a movie has to be life changing in order to be amazing, but to be good, it should keep its audience entertained. 

I wanted so badly to like this movie, and in theory it could have been a fun and creative masterpiece. But the execution wasn’t there. Although this film (like any Wes Anderson film) was incredibly visually appealing, “The French Dispatch”, a film centered around journalism, ironically needed better writing. •

Last Night in Soho Review

By Samiyah Young

For those with a passion for fashion, admiration of the 60s, or who simply enjoy a psychological thrill, Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho” is the perfect film. 

The plot follows an 18-year-old girl named Eloise who had just been admitted to fashion college in London’s Soho district. Unable to fit in with many of her peers, she moves into a small apartment with an elderly woman and begins having vivid dreams in which she is transported to 1960s Soho. She uses these dreams, and the people in them, as an inspiration for her fashion designs and personal style. However, her dreams eventually turn into nightmares that begin to invade reality, leading into the darker side of the movie. 

The film is immersed with terrifying moments, a surreal atmosphere, fantastic music, and stunning color grading. The leads, Thomasin Mackenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy, deliver outstanding performances. The film has some predictable elements and cheesy dialogue that can undermine its emergent intent, but it still impresses. 

“Last Night in Soho” most prevalently touches on gender-based sexual violence and misogyny, as well as sisterhood, with unexpected plot twists. It echoes how the circumstances of the 60s have hardly changed, but doesn’t address the issues it presented in the best way. The film villainizes the woman who had been wronged and victimizes the abusers, creating a confusing narrative. 

Fan favorite Edgar Wright is known for his comedies, so this drama-thriller came as a shock to many. His films are wonderful; the editing and music he employs strengthens the horror scenes and gives you chills. 

Overall, the movie was well-executed and thrilling throughout, though the ending could have been better. I am excited to see where Edgar Wright goes with this new direction in his films. •