Sunday, November 05, 2017

After Hours

Directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Joseph Minion, After Hours is the story of a man who goes out in New York City where he would have a series of misadventures during the course of an entire night. The film is a look into a man trying to get back home when a planned date with another woman doesn’t go as he hoped it would be as he would meet various strangers during the course of this night. Starring Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Fiorentino, John Heard, Verna Bloom, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Teri Garr, and Catherine O’Hara. After Hours is a wild and exhilarating film from Martin Scorsese.

Set in the span of 24 hours, the film follows a computer word processor who meets a woman at a diner and later asks her out late one night and then everything goes into complete chaos due to a series of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, loss of money, and all sorts of fucked-up shit. It’s a film that is a misadventure set in the Soho section of New York City where this man is in a world that is very spontaneous and unpredictable which is foreign to him as he spends much of time working. Upon meeting this woman on a night after work as she notices a book he’s reading, he thinks he gets a chance to break from his monotonous life. The film’s screenplay by Joseph Minion, with contributions by Martin Scorsese, plays into this 24-hour time span where it begins at an office where Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) is showing a new employee what to do as he copes with the outcome of how the rest of his life would be at work.

In meeting Marcy Franklin (Rosanna Arquette), he feels like this is someone who might want to go out with but things start to go wrong when he rides a cab and loses a $20 bill that he was supposed to be for the cab driver. During his date with Marcy, he learns about some things about her that disturbs him while he also meets Marcy’s sculptor roommate Kiki (Linda Fiorentino) whose paperweight sculptures is something that Paul wants. The night would only get worse when he meets a bartender (John Heard), an oddball waitress (Teri Garr), a woman that is part of a vigilante group, and other assortment of characters where Paul is later accused of burglary and gets himself into these horrible situations.

Martin Scorsese’s direction is definitely stylish in the way he would present the film as it is shot on location in New York City with much of it shot in the Soho section of the city. While there are some wide shots of the locations as well as scenes that play into the suspense and paranoia that Paul would go through for much of the film. Scorsese would utilize some close-ups and medium shots to play into Paul’s interaction with the people he would meet during the course of the film as it is shot on some actual locations as well as a few sets that are created. Scorsese wouldn’t just create this world that is unpredictable which is far removed from the world of clean and spacious apartments and work places that Paul is known as it’s not just the diners and bars he would go to but also a club that is quite arty and chaotic. 

Notably for the fact that some of the characters he meet are either from the world of art or are part of this sub-culture that is Soho. The direction is also stylized for some crazy scenes such as scene in the cab where it’s sped-up to play into the maniacal world that Paul is about to embark. Even as there are elements of repetition that play into the suspense and paranoia that include encounters with a couple of burglars as well as local vigilante group who believe he is a burglar. The element of humor is key to the film as it add to the craziness that Paul endured all because he wanted to go on a date with a person he doesn’t know. Overall, Scorsese creates a thrilling and exciting film about a man’s bad night in Soho.

Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography for the way many of the exteriors at night look and in how some of the interiors are lit while the few daytime shots outside of Soho are presented in a more naturalistic look. Editor Thelma Schoonmaker does amazing work with the editing as it has a lot of style in the usage of dissolves, different frame speeds, jump-cuts, and other stylized moments to play into the humor and manic suspense. Production designer Jeffrey Townsend, with set decorator Leslie Pope and art director Stephen J. Lineweaver, does fantastic work with the look of the art-punk club known as Berlin as well as the loft apartment Kiki and Marcy live as well a diner and a bar that Paul would go into.

Costume designer Rita Ryack does nice work with the costumes as it is mainly straightforward to play into the different sub-cultures of Soho from the art-punk look of Kiki to the more 60s-inspired look of the waitress Julie. Sound editor Skip Lievsay does superb work with the sound in maintaining a lively atmosphere to some of the locations as well as how music sounds in a location. The film’s music by Howard Shore is excellent for its eerie electronic score that play into the suspense and drama while the film’s soundtrack would feature an array of different musical styles at it include some classical pieces from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach as well as jazz pieces from Cole Porter and the Gershwin brothers plus contemporary music from Joni Mitchell, the Monkees, Peggy Lee, and Bad Brains as well as some classic blues and rock music.

The casting by Mary Colquhoun is wonderful as it feature some notable small roles and appearances from Bronson Pinchot as an employee Paul is trying to teach, Larry Block as the cab driver, Dick Miller as a diner waiter, Rocco Sisto as an odd coffee shop cashier, Clarence Felder as a punk club bouncer, Will Patton as Kiki’s boyfriend Horst, Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin as the two burglars who constantly steal things, and Verna Bloom in a terrific role as a woman at a club named June that Paul meets very late in the film. Catherine O’Hara is superb as a woman named Gail who helps Paul at first until she suspects him as a burglar while Teri Garr is fantastic as Julie as a bar waitress who hates her job while wanting to be an artist due to the drawings she makes. John Heard is excellent as Tom Schorr as a bartender who offers to help Paul out in getting a subway token as he would cope with sudden news that would shape his life.

Linda Fiorentino is brilliant as the oddball sculptor Kiki who dresses in punk clothes as she is also someone who has an abstract view on art. Rosanna Arquette is amazing as Marcy as a woman that Paul meets and goes on a date with as she is someone with some secrets as it relates to her past which disturbs Paul. Finally, there’s Griffin Dunne in an incredible performance as Paul Hackett as a man who works at an office who goes on a date only to endure the craziest night of his life as he deals with all sorts of shit as it’s a very manic and energetic performance from Dunne.

After Hours is a sensational film from Martin Scorsese. Featuring a great cast, a thrilling and offbeat premise, a killer music soundtrack, and stylish visuals, the film is definitely a wild yet fun film that explore what happens when a date night goes horribly wrong. In the end, After Hours is a phenomenal film from Martin Scorsese.

Martin Scorsese Films: (Who’s That Knocking on My Door?) – (Street Scenes) – Boxcar Bertha – (Mean Streets) – ItalianamericanAlice Doesn't Live Here Anymore - Taxi Driver - New York, New YorkAmerican Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince - (The Last Waltz) – Raging Bull - The King of Comedy - The Color of Money - The Last Temptation of Christ - New York Stories-Life Lessons - GoodfellasCape Fear - The Age of Innocence (1993 film) - (A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies) – (Casino) – (Kundun) – (My Voyage to Italy) – Bringing Out the Dead - (The Blues-Feel Like Going Home) – Gangs of New York - (The Aviator) – No Direction HomeThe Departed - Shine a Light - Shutter Island - (A Letter to Elia) – (Public Speaking) - George Harrison: Living in the Material World - Hugo - The Wolf of Wall Street - (The Fifty Year Argument) – Silence (2016 film) – (The Irishman (2018 film)) - Killers of the Flower Moon - (An Afternoon with SCTV)

© thevoid99 2017


Alex Withrow said...

Great review. I really dig this movie, one of those great 80s Scorsese comedies that doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves.

thevoid99 said...

@Alex-Thank you. I had fun watching this film as I just loved how low-key it is and that sense of energy throughout the film. Scorsese definitely had a good period in the 80s. Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, After Hours, The Color of Money, Last Temptation of Christ, and Life Lessons. Who can beat that?