Monday, August 22, 2011
THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO (1998)
Written & Directed By: Whit Stillman
Cinematography By: John Thomas
Editor: Andrew Hafitz & Jay Pires
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevingy, Robert Sean Leonard, Chris Eigeman, Mackenzie Astin, Jennifer Beals, Matt Kesslar, David Thornton, Tara Subkoff, Burr Steers, Jaid Barrymore, Michael Weatherly
Story of two female Manhattan book editors fresh out of college, both finding love and themselves while frequenting the local disco.
This is actually Whit Stillman's most accessable film. It's like hos others talkative exploring the yuppie crowd. Even though it is an esemble piece. It focus is more onthe female characters, this time more then in his past films.
It is also set during a definite point in time Making this a period piece of the early 80's. then his more ambigous time periods of his other films.
The films seems more of an attempt at entertaining mainstream audiences, While keeping his signature style. At least it was marketed to be, Though it might just be him maturing as a filmmaker also. it still has the look and feel of a stillman film only with a bigger budget and a soundtrack full of classic disco tunes. Which made going to see this film in the theater feel nostalgic.
The film is based around a faux studio 54 type club and the inhabitants who frequent it. it for the most part concerns itself with witty conversations between self involved characters and the in's and out's of their love and sex lives.
I tink the way the film was marketed was misleading. it threw off the audinece the film was intended for. They were expecting Studio 54. they got a Talkative indie comedy. I consider myself lucky for having seen this on the big screen. As it took awile to come to home video and after quite a few years finally came out on Criterion Dvd which it deserved.
Kate Beckinsale is surprisngly good for the first time to me (At that point) but she is blown out of the water by the charming and sweet Chloe Sevingy playing a regular character for one of the rare times inher career. i like that the film flirts with all the disasters of std's, financial ruin, and finding yourself. Plus showig the changing tides of the times.
It is also a first for Mr. Stillman working with actors out of his core group of players. Chris Eigeman is still around, but the main stars of the film run the gamut of established up and coming actors of the time. Who seem to all easily adapt to his characters and style. He unfortunately is more of a cult director then a celebrated one that he should be. His films are very distinct and one of a kind. He truly achieves Auteur Status with this film because within minutes or seconds you can tell it's one ofhisfilms, especially the more familiar you become with his work.He not only has a certian style and a way with dilogue but also the camera and characters that make his style unique.
It's only a shame he doesn't make more films because he showed how impressive he can be with studio funding. Unfortunately i think the Soundtrack was more successful then the movie, As everyone seemed to have it once it came out, but not so many to this day have really seen the film. Even my uncle who never saw the film owns the soundtrack. I seem to b the rare moviegoer who has vivid memories of this film
Castle rock the studio that produced the film wanted a name in the role of Alice. An offer was sent out to Winona Ryder. In the meantime Chole Sevingy read for the role and was perfect. Whit Stillman made uphis mind she was perfect for the role and found a way out of casting her.
This is a definite addition to the film library. Go out and see it.