After Hours (1985)
For any of those who might have missed it. I am going to post my review of Martin Scorsese’s After Hours. It had originally been posted as part of Rorschach Reviews “Scorsese Spotlight.”
Coordinating its sly humour, melodramatic performances, and obscure content that, at times, is unsettling and disturbing into a vastly entertaining ordeal. After Hours is a subtle, strange, and sadly underrated Martin Scorsese film filled with the usual facets we’ve grown to expect from his mastered craft. Consisting of a night lived perpetually through hazy events and vague characters. After Hours might pull a few more punches and be just a bit more over the top then your typical Scorsese picture. But the hypnotic performances, faultless camerawork, and inconceivable storyline are impossible to dismiss. After Hours, beaming with its incredible circumstances that cause gut wrenching anxiousness, doesn’t solely rely on its ambiguity. Starring Griffin Dune and Rosanna Arquette, After Hours is cast with brilliance. Blending in elements of social disparity and emotional depth, After Hours was cinema ahead of its time.
Paul (Dune) is a word processor who openly voices his displeasure for his life’s boring and lonely nature. When Paul meets Marcy (Arquette) at a coffee shop after work, she gives him her phone number. After the two part ways, Paul returns home and eventually works up the courage to call Marcy. She invites Paul to come over to her place in SoHo, even though it is late at night. When Paul hops into a cab that has little to no regard for the rules of the road, his crazy night has begun. Encountering multiple bizarre characters such as punks, criminals, psychos, and an angry mob that is ruthlessly hunting him down, Paul just wants to get home.
Imagine in the most general sense that Martin Scorsese undertook the challenge of a romantic comedy. Now, considering his track record and mindset, After Hours didn’t disappoint me in the slightest. In brief summarization, After Hours is essentially Scorsese’s take on rom-com. He’s managed to mix in several other genres and characteristics that a Scorsese picture would be doomed without. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. As he clashes the unpredictability of humanities darkness and normal, kindhearted nature, Scorsese defines and balances the contrast. Scorsese has an uncannily keen eye for filming and flaunts his repertoire throughout After Hours. In my opinion, After Hours contains some of his best filmed sequences, really breathtaking and humbling.
Usually I’d rip apart every facet of a Scorsese film, just to get to the guts. You know, the gooey mechanisms, the organs, the force that sends him into motion. But with After Hours, the best way to digest it is to simply inhale. Sit back, relax, take it for what it is. However, I’m a reviewer and this is a film blog, so, for lack of better words, the show must go on. I suppose the most intriguing point throughout After Hours is the consequences of being too trusting, too fast. At every turn, Scorsese introduces characters who are somewhat irrelevant to the story. However, in time, their importance expands. It is no coincidence that there growing relevance coincides with their abrupt turn from hospitable to hostile. The structuring and how every occurrence and antagonist continues to build and fortify on top of the previous is staggering. The plot may be too fantastical, but each one of us has had one of those never-ending nights. After Hours makes The Hangover look like a walk in the park.
While Griffin Dune is outstanding, more to the point, believable in his performance, which is imperative to a film that needs assistance staying grounded. It is Rosanna Arquette who I believe really took the reigns in After Hours. Her idiosyncrasies and carefree inhibition are infatuating. Every tiny, misplaced laugh, situational depression, and vicious rants add another layer to an already versatile tale. Griffin Dune starts off a tad isolating and his calm demeanour is for some reason unnerving. But as we continue to accompany him on this journey for companionship as it evolves into an all out manhunt, our sympathy evolves with it. We suddenly begin to root and urge Dune along unquestioned, which is an outstanding feat that I heavily applaud Scorsese and Dune for. Lastly, is there any role that Catherine O’hara doesn’t portray a strung out, emotional lunatic? Maybe it’s because she is so effective and intimidating.
After Hours is an intoxicating joy ride that never ends. Bursting with loveable characters, quirky laughs, and heartless severity. Scorsese has spawned another original masterpiece.
After Hours: 9 out of 10.