Monday, September 7, 2015

The Last Days of Disco (1998)

Director: Whit Stillman
Writer:    Whit Stillman
Cast:       Chloe Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale, Chris Eigeman

Story of two female Manhattan book editors fresh out of college, both finding love and themselves while frequenting the local disco. The first three of Whitman's films are together classed as 'Doomed-Bourgeoisie-in-Love' series and this one concerns a group of Ivy league and Hampshire graduates. Film is set in early 1980s New-York and the two main characters were not really friends during their college days but circumstances have conspired to make them share an apartment with a third girl. Personality wise they are polar opposite with the Kate Beckinsale character being the dominant one. 

Unlike previous Whit Stillman films, where the interactions between the main characters were a bit endearingly harmless mischievous kind, in this one it is much more cutthroat and cruel. That kind of took me aback initially but it is kind of realistic if you go by the stereotypical way female acquaintances are supposed to interact. Humor in it is much more of the darker kind and film as a whole is quite three dimensional compared to his previous efforts. If you think you are gonna get a typical Whit Stillman film, then there is a chance that you might get disappointed by it. But it is still a great film in which Stillman chooses to go a bit more adult. All his first three films are set in 1980s with Metropolitan being the latest one in the chronological sense of its setting. There is references to previous two films with Matt Ross' (Gavin Belson from Silicon Valley) being kind of a cartoonish take on the protagonist from Metropolitan and Taylor Nichols making a cameo reprising  his role from Barcelona. There is also this USS Maine reference from Barcelona as well.

Overall, it is another great one from Stillman with his own identity etched on to it rather than being very Woody Allenesque. Chloe Sevigny as the uptight protagonist reminded me of Greta Gerwig and sure enough, she is in Stillman's next effort 'Damsels in Distress', which came out after a very long gap in 2011. Disco didn't do very well financially but was very well received by critics. That fact that it is in the Criterion collection itself should be enough of an advertisement now.

Rating: 4/5