London Calling

- James White

RELEASED 31 JANUARY (download out now)

2021 | 18 | Blu-ray (4K/standard)/dvd/ download

Director Edgar Wright

Cast Thomasin Mckenzie, Anya Taylor-joy, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg

Continuing his tour of film genres, Edgar Wright arrives at psychologi­cal thriller with a dash of horror. This story of fashion student Eloise Turner (Thomasin Mckenzie) discoverin­g the darkness at the heart of her obsession with ’60s Soho and the tragic past of similar wannabe Sandie (Anya Taylor-joy) blends his trademark stylish camera work and attention to detail with a dread-inducing tale that keeps you guessing.

He’s helped by visual panache courtesy of cinematogr­apher Chung-hoon Chung and slick snipping by regular editor Paul Machliss. Yet it’s composer Steven Price who really shines, layering in vocal tracks and Mellotrons for an unnerving score.

On the performanc­e front, Thomasin Mckenzie draws the focus in the modern-day sequences with a committed portrayal of a young woman slowly unravellin­g, while Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp bring world-weary, we-were-there energy in support of her tale. Back in the past, meanwhile, Anya Taylor-joy has movie star shine and emotional depth, while Matt Smith offers scummy charm.

As the terror level ramps up, the final act doesn’t quite keep the plot threading tight, yet it still works as a complete tapestry. It’s one step beyond for Wright, a director who had already shown off impressive filmmaking chops in the past.

Extras Five featurette­s – “Meet Eloise” (10 minutes), “Dreaming Of Sandie” (nine minutes), “Smoke And Mirrors” (13 minutes), “On The Streets Of Soho” (nine minutes) and “Time Travelling” (11 minutes) – discuss various elements and boast some interestin­g tidbits (top marks for how the sequences showing Eloise as Sandie’s mirror reflection were pulled off ). Nine minutes of deleted scenes range from longer versions of existing moments to footage that clearly deserved to be chopped so as not to telegraph narrative points. Animatics and various costume/vfx tests are more for completist­s/film students, though there are some fun facts to be found regarding how the sinister shadow figures were realised.

The highlights, though, are two commentari­es that very rarely repeat informatio­n. First up is the director, Machliss and Price getting technical on the nittygritt­y of the film (including how complicate­d the early taxi-cab scene was to shoot); Wright also pitches a sequel with Eloise and Sandie as an updated Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)-style crimefight­ing duo.

The track with Wright and co-writer Krysty Wilson-cairns is a more personal delve into the script’s ideas and inspiratio­ns, including their own experience­s arriving in London and Wilsoncair­ns’s time working in The Toucan, the bar in the film. Our only real complaint? Given how entertaini­ng Wright makes Chung sound, it’s a shame he doesn’t have his own feature.

Krysty Wilson-cairns still has her apron from working in The Toucan. She cameos in one bar scene – but just her hand!

 ?? ?? “Don’t look, I haven’t got me face on yet!”
“Don’t look, I haven’t got me face on yet!”
 ?? ??

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