Exporing the one-wild-night concept, After Hours is a mildly entertaining comedy with an immersive atmosphere. It’s one of the more underrated Martin Scorsese’s movies and you can definitely feel the master’s touch in it. He designed it as a parody of Hitchcock’s style with elaborate camera movements. The story, however, feels a bit timid and underwhelming considering similar movies that came out in the next few decades. Stephen Hopkins’ 1993 thriller Judgment Night features a much more intense and engaging storyline though without humorous elements. After Hours, however, revels in the surreal and sexually-charged atmosphere as we follow poor Paul spinning in circles. Perhaps Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing is a better fit, also taking place during one night with the same sort of dark comedy vibe.
Griffin Dunne was great as your Average Joe just trying to get home after a strange date and what to say about ravishing Linda Fiorentino? She’s the definition of a seductively distant and intense artist with looks that kill. Hell, this entire movie is worth watching just for her performance. Rosanna Arquette was also great as her unstable friend Marcy. We even get a Cheech and Chong cameo appearances here. The storytelling is a bit disjointed and would benefit from better pacing. They set out to make a classic but didn’t exactly nail down all the parts. The end product is a fun snapshot of New York nightlife and the characters that inhabit it. From bar owners to criminals and waitresses, we will meet the whole bunch.
Meet Paul Hackett, your average computer data entry grunt, grinding it out in the corporate world. His every day looks that same and every night is similar to the last one. This one, however, will be quite different. It started usually, with a little casual book reading in a local cafe where he meets Marcy, a cute girl who seems interested in him. She gives him her number and later that very night Paul calls her eventually ending up getting invited to the apartment that she shares with her friend Kiki. He takes a cab, excited to maybe hook up with Marcy, not knowing what fate has in store for him tonight.
After Hours offers a relatable story where we all had these nights or dates where things go from excitingly great to horribly wrong in a matter of minutes. You can’t help but feel for every character as we learn more about their backgrounds and perhaps look at these and our own encounters from a different perspective. Towards the end, things start getting increasingly intense and you feel that anything might happen. By that time you’re already invested in the story and our main guy and would like to see him just go to his fucking apartment. Whether he actually will is up to you to discover. There are also a lot of small details that pull you further into the story and the mood of this amusing black comedy.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Joseph Minion
Cast: Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom, Linda Fiorentino, Teri Garr, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara, Dick Miller, Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin
Fun Facts: Martin Scorsese told Griffin Dunne to refrain from sex and sleep during filming in order to get a more realistic feeling of paranoia.