After Hours Reviews
After Hours is a black comedy film directed by Martin Scorcese and released in 1985. It's the DREAM-like tale of a word processor named Paul Hackett who one day meets a woman named Marcy who shares his interest in Henry Miller books. She gives him his number and Paul eventually works up the MOTIVATION to call Marcy that night, with no regard to his CIRCADIAN RHYTHM at 11 PM. She asks him to drive down to SoHo, where she lives with a woman named Kiki, who makes strange paper mache sculptures. Set in a dark time before TV remotes, all of Paul's money flies out of the taxi cab and stiffs the cab driver. After going out for coffee, and expecting some SELF DISCLOSURE and to grow upon their budding INTIMACY, Marcy starts acting strangely and incoherently rambles about the tragic events in her life, startling Paul, who leaves. What happens next is a PERCEPTION shattering, ADRENAL GLAND triggering journey through the chilling underground CULTURE of after hours SoHo that will test his TEMPERAMENT and THRESHOLD for pain and suffering. Basically, everything that can possibly go wrong goes wrong, and in some way or another, it's all Paul Hackett's fault. He meets a bartender and a waitress who is interested in Paul but later realizes that she is even weirder than Marcy, so he leaves. The bartender is actually Marcy's boyfriend, and gets a call saying that Marcy has committed suicide. In a display of ALTRUISM, or perhaps due to a strong sense of ATTACHMENT, he runs to the bartender's apartment to check on her. With little room for COPING with Marcy'¬?s death and physical and emotional STRESS mounting, he is eventually chased down by a mob who believes he's a burglar. With help from a middle aged woman inside a Mohawk Punk gathering and with unintentional help from two Hispanic men who are the actual thieves, he is transported in front of his workplace to begin another boring work day with a different understanding of SELF-CONCEPT.
I am not the biggest fan of Martin Scorcese, but this is easily his best film. Very Kafka-esque in its cruel, impersonal ENVIRONMENT, the portrayal of the seedy DELUSIONAL underground of SoHo is very well done and is genuinely horrific in its indecency and unavailability of the NORM. Scorcese CREATIVELY shoots the scenes in constant motion, adding to the tense HALLUCINATORY tone of the film. The pacing is also mercilessly relentless, with comically absurd moments that build and build and doesn't stop until the very final scene, when the viewer has had enough. After Hours is a brilliant, darkly funny exaggeration of grim reality.
Also, the camera work feels a little overdone. I like that they it moves about with the classical music in the office to give that busy busy tone, but sometimes the quick zoom-ins and such seem to be trying to make the movie more than it can be, calling attention to themselves. Hurumph, I say. Hurumph.
The reality of the film is what makes it so curious. We spiral down deeper and deeper with Dunne, as unable to find our way as he is, even when connections between events become less and less tenuous.
It helps when you've had crazy nights like Dunne's - minus the suicide.
After Hours successfully does what so many of those movies that take place over the course of an evening or a day attempt: the tension is there from the start, and it never goes away; even when you're laughing.