The Last Days Of Disco

Early '80s nostalgia from the perspective of the tragically unhip: Writer-director Whit Stillman's chronicle of the boogie-oogie-oogie era bypasses supermodels and scene-makers in favor of the often humiliating experiences of expensively educated WASPs whose pedigrees count for everything on the job market and nothing at the velvet ropes. At the story's...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Early '80s nostalgia from the perspective of the tragically unhip: Writer-director Whit Stillman's chronicle of the boogie-oogie-oogie era bypasses supermodels and scene-makers in favor of the often humiliating experiences of expensively

educated WASPs whose pedigrees count for everything on the job market and nothing at the velvet ropes. At the story's center are mismatched roommates: bitchy Charlotte (Kate Beckinsale) and sweet Alice (Chloe Sevigny), privileged girls with good haircuts, low-level publishing jobs and a three-way

share in a rundown railroad apartment: At least it's on the East Side. Around them buzz a swarm of square-jawed guys they knew from college -- God forbid they should meet anyone new in a city of 8 million -- all of whom have come to New York to start their inevitable climb up the

ladder of success. The exception to the upwardly mobile mass migration is Des (Chris Eigeman), the college screwup whom fate has deposited near the apex of the nightlife food chain: A bouncer at a trendy club (Studio 54 in all but name), he's their all-access pass to the disco Eden of drugs,

dancing and untrammeled sex, from which the whole uptight lot of them live in fear of being expelled. The conclusion of a trilogy that started with METROPOLITAN and BARCELONA (though it feels as though it should be in the middle, especially when people start talking about taking jobs in, yes,

Barcelona), Stillman's newest look at the lifestyles of the sheltered and parentally subsidized relies as heavily as the earlier installments on a brand of brittle pseudo-sophisticated chatter (spare us, please, from sociological analyses of Lady and the Tramp) that sounds particularly

artificial delivered in a disco inferno. And the bloom is off his self-important preppies: It's one thing to think the world revolves around you when you're a teen, quite another when you're a young adult. But the soundtrack will delight anyone whose blood stirs at the strains of "I'm Coming Out,"

"Le Freak" or "Doctor's Orders."

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Early '80s nostalgia from the perspective of the tragically unhip: Writer-director Whit Stillman's chronicle of the boogie-oogie-oogie era bypasses supermodels and scene-makers in favor of the often humiliating experiences of expensively educated WASPs wh… (more)

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