Completing the loosely connected trilogy that also includes Metropolitan and Barcelona, writer-director Whit Stillman brings his signature style to this casually structured but acerbically witty ode to... well, to the last... more » days of disco. Set in New York during 1980-81, the film follows its half-dozen central characters onto the strobe-lit dance floor of The Club--the anonymous name Stillman gave to the central setting, knowing at the time that his film would be released in close proximity to 54, the bigger-budget movie about the legendary and infamous nightclub Studio 54. In fact, Stillman's film captures the same period with greater accuracy, and draws us into the waning disco craze with more incisive wit and deft handling of a first-rate cast. The film's casual plot revolves around six recent college graduates, and Stillman charts their clashes and intimacies with a keen sense of human foibles and frailties, pausing throughout for such characteristic touches as a hilarious conversation about the sexual politics of Disney's Lady and the Tramp or the homoerotic subtext in an episode of Wild Kingdom. Sharp dialogue is in rich abundance here, and through it all Stillman captures the fading glory of disco as his characters make the transition toward adult responsibilities. It's here that we see how this film is subtly intertwined with Stillman's earlier work, and where we gain a fuller and more satisfying appreciation of a filmmaker who has carved a singular niche for himself in the world of independent movies. --Jeff Shannon« less
Luis Hernandez | New York, New York, USA | 07/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Directed by the amazing Whit Stillman ("Barcelona"; "Metropolitan"), "The Last Days of Disco" examines the life of several young, upward, professionals (or "yuppies" for short) during the early 1980's, when the disco craze was dying and the Decade of Decadence was beginning.Alice (Chloë Sevigny of "Boys Don't Cry") and Charlotte (Kate Beckisndale of "Brokedown Palace") are two young publishing assistants who live as roommates in the city. Living on a love/hate relationship with one another, both girls decide to socialize with New York's club elite at the most popular club in the city.There, they meet up with the likes of advertising execs and employees, odd club characters such as the Tiger Lady (played by Drew Barrymore's real-life mother, Jaid Barrymore) and others who give the film a unique flavor when it comes to recreating the disco era of the late 1970's/early 1980's.While I really can't give away the details that moves the film to its' conclusion, all I can say that this film blows away the only other disco-era film that was released around the same time, "Studio 54." While the latter tried to recreate the final days of New York City's most infamous nightspot, it failed to capture the energy that disco era was well-known for. Unlike "Studio 54," instead of revolving around the life of one character, "Last Days" focuses on the lives of several young professionals, which gives it more flavor and attraction.Personally, Whit Stillman simply is one of the best American directors out there. His films all involve wit, energy, love, and the elements that plague young adults now and then. In one I consider to be one of the best-written scripts in recent years, Stillman pours plenty of wit and insight on what it is to be young and successful in a large city. Another great thing about this film is its' excellent disco-era soundtrack. Covering such classics such as "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross and "Everybody Dance" by Chic, I almost felt that I was transported to the club in the film. If you loved this film, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the soundtrack.If you love Disco and/or films about life in New York City, I highly recommend this film. It is one of the best films of 1998, and after watching it I can't wait for Whit Stillman's next project."
A good antidote to exploding helicopter movies
Michael Laursen | Mountain View, CA USA | 12/03/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you can't stand to watch another exploding helicopter, "Disco" and the other two Whit Stillman movies are a good antidote. The characters actually say interesting things.You may want to watch "Metropolitan" before watching "The Last Days of Disco" to understand the world the characters come from. You may be a little misled by watching "Metropolitan" first, though. It's a simple, gentle story while "Barcelona" and "Disco" are sexier and set in more exotic locales.Some reviewers didn't like these movies because the characters speak articulately in fully-formed, grammatically-correct sentences. I can see where they might mistake it for bad writing or acting. The bio commentary on the "Disco" DVD talks about the film crew being impressed by the Sevigny and Beckinsale's ability to recreate New England prep school speech - an indication that preppies really talk that way. I'm from California where we're all inarticulate, so I wouldn't know. Ultimately, I don't care - people don't break out singing in real life, either, but you wouldn't want to do away with musicals. Notice that the non-preppy characters in these movies talk like "normal" people."
When they talk of Herpes we're all thinking AIDS
Bill Jones | Lemon Grove, CA USA | 04/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Last Days of Disco" recalls a specific time - the very early 1980's. The video opens with a shot of two young women walking down the street. The shot is framed in such a way that you only see the bottom half of their legs. It's a shot that immediately recalls the disco-era classic, "Saturday Night Fever" with it's similar opening - clearly Whit Stillman (who wrote and directed) knows what he's doing.The film is a sort of coming-of-age story of two book publishing assistants - Alice (well played by Chloe Sevigny who can be seen in the current "Boys Don't Cry") and Charlotte (Kate Beckinsale). Looking to expand their social circle, they frequent a hard-to-get-into nightclub (not mentioned but obviously patterned after New York's famed Studio 54). The more experienced Charlotte ("Maybe in physical terms I'm cuter than you - but you should be much more popular than I am") gives Alice lots of advice - like how she should always try and throw the word "sexy" into her conversation or how Harvard guys can be amazing creeps. She talks of the "tremendous importance of group social life" and claims to oppose "all this ferocious pairing off". She's a bit of a phony, however, which we (like Alice) come to find out. But Stillman rises above making crass judgements about her, he doesn't make fun of her - he essentially likes her, as he does all the characters. This includes Des, whose act is to pretend he's recently discovered he's gay in order to gain sympathy from women, before cruelly dumping them.Deftly observed, "The Last Days of Disco" is one of the best videos I saw in 1998. It's an extremely talky, almost plotless, CHARACTER-driven story. The talk, however, is often very witty. Take, for example, the debate that films like "Lady and the Tramp" program women to adore jerks. Or the idea that the environmental movement started in the 50's after we all saw "Bambi". This is a terrific film that shines a light on a confusing time - a time many were scarcely prepared for."
Chris Eigeman - he is the star!
K. Scott | Australia | 01/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Last Days of Disco is a fantastic movie, but only if you are prepared to really listen to the dialogue. The thing that I like most about Whit Stillman's movies is his characters - dissatisfied and confused with their lives as they may be. My favourite actor in all of Stillman's movies is Chris Eigeman, who always plays a cynical character, who is offensive to all, but who I still find likeable. In The Last Days of Disco, Eigeman is Des, a cocaine snorting, womanising underboss in popular nightclub. Look out for the hilarious Lady and the Tramp scene in the movie, as well as the scene where Des snorts some hot coffee because it may contain the same effects as cocaine. This is a movie that gets heavy on dialogue, but is worth it. Even though the characters are pompous, they are extremely well developed and acted.The Last Days of Disco is a fantastic movie, and for me brought alive the disco era in a way that movies such as Studio 54 did not come near. But only for people who like to really watch movies, not just have them on in the background."
K. Scott | 01/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After Metropolitan andn Barcelona, one would expect the acting in The Last Days of Disco to be atrocious. That's not the case. For perhaps the first time, Stillman has managed to fuse a reflective story with decent acting. The result is, I think, a movie that just gets better each time you watch it. The more you watch, the more you realise it's just like a Fitzgerald or Hemmingway novel. The conversation about lady and the tramp, the bitchiness of Kate Beckinsale... it all adds up to a great movie. If you have a bit of time to spare, and you're willing to pay attention to it, watch the movie. Whilst Metropolitan and Barcelona were both great (I'm a big Stillman fan), I think The Last Days of Disco shows the director at a new level of maturity."