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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.56%
Worth A Look47.22%
Average: 11.11%
Pretty Bad: 11.11%
Total Crap: 25%

3 reviews, 18 user ratings

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Last Days of Disco, The
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by Thom

"The laconic end to Walt Stillman’s existential trilogy."
4 stars

Much like Mersault in Camus’ classic, THE STRANGER, Stillman’s characters are beings responding to sensory stimuli. As with METROPOLITAN and BARCELONA, the characters drift in and out of situations, hazily musing on the meaning of even the most mundane choices.

In the LAST DAYS OF DISCO, the vapid self-reflection centers on the end of an era, the Disco era. Alice (Chloe Sevigny), Charlotte (Kate Beckingsale), Des (Chris Eigeman) and Jimmy (Mackenzie Astin) deadpan their way through Manhattan wondering what will happen when the last Disco closes.

The key to appreciating Stillman’s films is the theme and the conversational method he uses to explore that theme. While METROPOLITAN is about the American Dream and class-consciousness and BARCELONA is about passion and freedom, LAST DAYS OF DISCO is about transition. There is always an unknowing vapidity and shallowness to Stillman’s characters which makes the disco era an appropriate backdrop for the theme of transition. The characters are basically asking, “Is there life after Disco?” The question itself isn’t very interesting, but the exploration of change and an unknowable future, is.

LAST DAYS OF DISCO is not a deep, self-reflective generational portrait. The characters’ identity is totally wrapped up in the Disco subculture. Disco is dying outside of them, but still remains strong inside of them. They are die-hards who aren’t sure what’s going to happen to them when they no longer have the cultural backdrop that helps them express their personality.

Since Stillman’s films are about conversation not action, the joy in watching the film is eavesdropping on the essentially meaningless, constant dialogue the characters are having. Because we are watching the film from a time that has moved way beyond disco, we have knowledge the characters don’t. We know how the larger story turns out and we can pretty much guess about what happens to the characters. They continue on with their bourgeois lives and continue to eke out a living and with each successive age, filter their identity through the latest trends as the prototypical middle class lifestyle consumer. Their shag carpeting has turned into burber. They traded in their fondue pot for an espresso machine and then dusted off the fondue pot when it came back in vogue.

Each of Stillman’s films has some over-arching theme that directs the conversation. The scenes he puts his people in are like boxes or tableaux to get the characters into context. The most remarkable and distinct aspect of DISCO, as with Stillman’s other films, is the very monotonous tone of all the actors. It is like everyone is totally bored and uninterested in what they have to say but they say them as if they were the most interesting things in the world to say.

Taylor Nichols and Chris Eigemann reprise their roles from METROPOLITAN and BARCELONA with just a name change. The presence of the two actors in all three films gives the “trilogy” a thread of visual continuity. While not a trilogy in the sense of plot continuity, there is, instead, stylistic.

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originally posted: 11/18/03 09:28:02
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User Comments

8/03/14 Ken Laureys OK 3 stars
11/17/09 KingNeutron Whoever gave this movie a good review owes me 2 hours - HORRIBLE acting and dialogue!!!! 1 stars
1/22/09 Kitty interesting and entertaining 5 stars
11/15/05 millersxing Train apartment complexity 5 stars
5/08/05 Indrid Cold Some stilted, sophisticated dialogue, but otherwise a completely mundane drama. 3 stars
7/20/02 Soulis Funny film, sharp dialogue, a thinking movie 4 stars
1/24/02 Andrew Carden It was Pretty Good. Nothing Spectacular, but Worth A Look. 4 stars
10/19/00 Johnsen The most uninteresting characters ever made this extremey boring 1 stars
7/13/00 Tom Cool film. Chloe Sevigny was good. 4 stars
1/19/00 Big Rich Good flick. Kate B is every annoying girl i grew up with in the '80s. Chloe is sublime! 4 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson Crackling dialouge, neat characters 4 stars
4/10/99 Jeff yeuch stinky stinky some hot babes but it still was very bad 1 stars
2/18/99 Bishop I didn't like this at first, but it grew, the characters started seeming real. Chloe rules! 3 stars
1/31/99 Guess? Fuck {{OZ}}!! Parker Posey rocks..Bitch ass punk. 3 stars
1/03/99 Jeff I saw it for free and I still feel cheated. 2 stars
10/24/98 grunter no one on the planet actually speaks in dialogue like this; excruciatingly dull 2 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee Kate beckinsdale is a hottie, but Chloe Sevigny is a gump. 2 stars
8/13/98 {{OZ}} Too Parker Posey for me. 2 stars
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  23-Apr-1998 (R)
  DVD: 30-Mar-1999


  10-Sep-1998 (M)

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