We rented The Last Days of Disco last night. It was the second Whit Stillman movie I've seen; I saw Barcelona earlier this year.
TLDoD is set 1980ish. At the beginning of the movie, disco seems to be in its heyday. "The club" is packed, and smug bouncers only let the beautiful people in. The only thing "Last Days"ish about the setting is, perhaps, its excess of decadence. But that's a stretch, and the characters don't seem self-aware enough to anticipate the inevitable end. Well, maybe they have enough self-awareness, just not enough wisdom.
The story is about twentysomething Ivy League grads living in New York City, going to the disco, and pairing off. As with Barcelona, the highlight for me is the dialogue, especially from the mouth of Chris Eigeman ("It's Like, You Know..."). But the dialogue here isn't quite so engaging as Barcelona's classic:
Fred: And one of the things that keeps popping up is this about "subtext." Plays, novels, songs - they all have a "subtext," which I take to mean a hidden message or import of some kind. So subtext we know. But what do you call the message or meaning that's right there on the surface, completely open and obvious? They never talk about that. What do you call what's above the subtext?The plot is mainly about the pursuit, establishment and dissolution of relationships, although there is also some sort of corruption at the club thrown in. Everything seems like it can go on indefinitely, but all good things must come to an end, and so does disco.
Ted: The text.
Fred: OK, that's right, but they never talk about that.
The characters, while generally unlikable (Eigman's character dumps women by pretending to have "discovered" that he's gay), are well-drawn.
If you liked Barcelona, go ahead and rent this. If you haven't seen Barcelona, pick that over this.
2 1/2 stars.