The Last Days of Disco
Not to be confused with Boogie Nights, The Last Days of Disco does not feature prosthetic penises. Set in the early '80s amid disco's dying gasps, director/writer Stillman's new ensemble piece focuses on a group of twentysomethings recently transplanted to the social hotbed of Manhattan. Group dynamics are clearly a fascination for Stillman, and as we follow the exploits and barbed conversations of his protagonists, it's easy to see why. Shallow party-girl Charlotte (Beckinsale), a perfect reflection of the Me decade, looks out on the packed dance floor of the club of the second and informs her friend Alice (Sevigny) “We have a lot of choices.” This sense of youthful freedom and controlled hedonism are intoxicating to Charlotte and Alice's circle of friends who frequent the club. From Des (Eigeman), the hilariously sardonic club manager who dumps former girlfriends by claiming “he might be gay,” to Jimmy (Astin), the poor uncool young advertising exec who tries desperately to get his clients into the club, Stillman creates an ensemble of wonderfully entertaining neuroses. There are no explosions or plane crashes to be found, but nevertheless the film remains immensely interesting simply because of the interchanges between the characters. The self-congratulatory earnestness with which characters attack such topics as sexist undertones in Disney's Lady and the Tramp, why VD might actually be a social asset, and the true meaning of Shakespeare's famous line “To thy own self be true” will certainly leave the viewer snickering (and thinking).
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