Time: 97 minutes
Griffin Dunne as Paul Hackett
Rosanna Arquette as Marcy Franklin
Verna Bloom as June
Tommy Chong as Pepe
Linda Fiorentino as Kiki Bridges
Teri Garr as Julie
John Heard as Bartender Tom Schorr
Cheech Marin as Neil
Catherine O’Hara as Gail
Director: Martin Scorsese
A New York office worker (Griffin Dunne) has “a very strange night” when he ventures for a late night date with a woman he just meets (Rosanna Arquette), which turns into a waking nightmare when one mishap after another strands him in a hostile neighbourhood in his quest to return home before morning.
I remembered After Hours as being a bit of a weird movie in Martin Scorsese’s filmography, albeit entertaining. I wasn’t certain about it when I first saw it year, but I was sure to remember to revisit it at some point in time, to see how I’d feel about it in the future. Upon rewatching it I found it to be largely the same as when I last saw it. Now I don’t exactly love it and I guess I can say that it’s one of my least favourites of his films (though by no means amongst his worst) but there’s a lot of things in here to like.
After Hours is like the personification of an endless and escalating nightmare that never ends, in a good way. It’s quite a weird movie, which only gets weirder and weirder as it progresses, the term is overused but it borders on being Lynchian. So I’d recommend not knowing too much going in or watching the trailer or anything like that. Despite the description it’s not a dreadful experience, in fact with the exception of The Wolf of Wall Street, this is the closest thing to a straight up comedy that Martin Scorsese has made. There was quite a lot of dark humour in the movie, and I thought most of it was good. It’s fairly plotless and pretty much just following one character for all the time, and as that it succeeded for the most part. It’s very fast paced and is just under an hour and 40 minutes long, still by the end you feel like you just experienced a whole night. This movie doesn’t necessarily do a lot wrong, but I didn’t personally get anything out of the movie or see what it was trying to say thematically. I just saw it as an entertaining and darkly comedic thriller, though I have an idea that Scorsese was also trying to say something, I just can’t figure out what it is. That’s probably the main thing that’s stopping me from loving After Hours, or at least at the same level as most of Martin Scorsese’s other movies.
Griffin Dunne is the lead character and the movie surrounds him the entire time, and he more than holds his own. He pretty much personifies the everyman caught in one crazy incident after the other, and you can really see him losing it as the night goes on and never seeming to get any break. The supporting cast was good as well, with many of them playing some weird and memorable characters, with the cast including Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom, Thomas Chong, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara and more.
Martin Scorsese’s direction is great as usual. Even though he generally makes great looking movies, I was taken aback at how stunning this movie looked. The New York City’s Soho is very well captured, and Scorsese effectively conveys a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere excellently. The synth score by Howard Shore also accompanies the movie rather well and it’s a constant presence throughout the movie.
After Hours isn’t among Martin Scorsese’s best movies, but there’s a lot of things here to like. It’s weird, dream-like and entertaining, very well directed and it has a bunch of memorable characters along with Griffin Dunne’s central lead performance anchoring the movie. It’s a unique movie that’s worth a watch.