54: The Director's Cut

DIRECTOR: Mark Christopher

Expected to attend: Director Mark Christopher

In director Mark Christopher’s glittering re-creation of an era, a naïve New Jersey boy becomes the belle of New York’s 1970s disco demimonde at the storied Studio 54. Originally released in 1998, the film was bowdlerized to make it more palatable for mainstream audiences; this revelatory director’s cut, which includes 36 minutes of never-seen material rescued from dailies, restores Christopher’s original vision, in which the hedonism of the club—the coke, the Quaaludes, the sex in all its glorious varieties—is like catnip to 18-year-old Shane (Ryan Phillippe). Burning with ambition as well as desire for both men and women, and one of many objects of lust for 54 co-owner Steve Rubell (a brilliant Mike Myers), the club’s newest waiter uses his sexuality to create his own brand of celebrity. Only his Studio 54 family, coat-check girl Anita (Salma Hayek) and her waiter husband Greg (Breckin Meyer), keep Shane tethered to reality, though theirs is a fraught erotic triangle. Even as Shane gains entry to a glamorous world as a boy-toy for moneyed club-goers, 54 paints a scathing portrait of casual cruelty in a class-driven society where Shane may venture only so far beyond the velvet rope. The allure of Studio 54 for Shane (and the audience) is irresistible, as Christopher fills the screen with exuberance and a soundtrack full of disco classics. The mirror ball in this melodrama is a beacon to a lost world of dazzling decadence where it seemed like the music would never stop.

— Pam Grady

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F100

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