Martin Scorsese might be one of my favorite directors. He has a way of telling a story in a film with incredible style yet makes it feel very believable. I also love his use of music in his films to accent a scene and makes it feel complete and memorable. Yup, I really like Martin Scorsese films. To be honest with you, as much as I like him I can’t say I’ve seen everything he has ever done. So looking through his films there are quite a few that I still have yet to see and out of those one caught my eye.
After Hours (1985) is a dark comedy with an ensemble cast that includes Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Teri Garr, Catherine O’Hara, Cheech and Chong. This movie is a dark, twisted comedy and the cast is what made me take a look at this movie. In After Hours Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) is a normal, working, single guy in his mid to late 20’s living in NYC. He randomly meets a young woman in a diner. After a brief conversation she gives him the phone number of where she is staying and leaves. Later that night Paul calls and they agree to meet up in SoHo district of NYC at the loft she is currently sharing with a friend.
Paul is hoping he’ll hook up and get lucky, but his evening is about to be anything but lucky. In fact Paul is about to have one of the most unluckiest evenings that a guy could ever have in NYC. His night starts off with a crazy taxi ride downtown, to losing his money, and ultimately ends up with Paul being chased by an angry mob that is led by a Mister Softee ice cream truck. There are so much more unfortunate coincidences that I’ll let you discover on your own.
The pacing of the movie is what makes it work. This is no slapstick kind of comedy. The movie moves deliberately slow in the beginning, but stick with it because once it gets rolling it is out of control. You really feel for Paul and kind of relate to him. His awkward “date” with Marcy(Rosanna Arquette), the girl he met at the diner, feels so uncomfortable that you are relieved once he gets out of it. Getting out of one situation leads him to a worse situation, and it continues. You are at the edge of your seat with every new encounter that Paul finds himself in and it leaves you wondering, “how can so much misfortune happen to one in one guy in one night?”. Just when it feels Paul is going to get himself out of SoHo and back home, he ends up sinking deeper into the abyss of a regrettable evening. You may sympathize with Paul, but can’t help laughing because he is having an entertainingly bad night.
After Hours is a movie that works at getting an emotional response from the viewer because you are invested in the character Paul. Its also fun seeing it a second time just to follow the trail of bad luck and see how they all relate to giving Paul one terrible night out. A fun bizarre little movie.