The Last Days of Disco ★★★

NO BYSTANDERS.

Rivals peak Linklater (and this is coming from a long time fan). Stillman’s characters here are so well-realized they make the relative narrative aimlessness this has work greatly to its advantage overall, a feat RL can only be counted on to achieve about half of the time these days. To give credit where credit is due of course, the ensemble of remarkable performances—effective protagonist Chloë Sevigny and her diametrical counterpart Kate Beckinsale especially—play a rather large role in pulling this off, the biggest sequence of note being a fierce, expertly conceived battle between Keeslar and Eigeman’s characters to determine who really deserves Alice’s love. The catch being that it’s disguised as an argument about THE LADY AND THE TRAMP, unexpectedly serving as the riveting emotional climax of the film. The home runs don’t stop there of course, as the intentionally mannered dialogue is yet another aspect Stillman is able to manage against all odds here—difficult to think of another filmmaker who could make lines like “there’s something really sexy about Scrooge McDuck” work so damn well, but there’s something about placing this otherwise pensive group of yuppies in an environment they’re distinctly out of place in (and unknowingly killing) that makes the affected conversation feel surprisingly fitting. Intercut all the philosophical back-and-forth with a couple of dazzling nightclub interludes set to what has to be one of the phenomenal soundtracks of the nineties and you have yourself an absolute classic. Disco never dies.

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