A meek word processor impulsively travels to Manhattan's Soho District to date an attractive but apparently disturbed young woman and finds himself trapped there in a nightmarishly surreal vortex of improbable coincidences and farcical circumstances. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The conversation between Paul and the bouncer at Club Berlin is mostly from Franz Kafka's "Before The Law." See more »
The coffee that spills out of the cup into the saucer disappears. See more »
[Paul and Lloyd in front of a computer terminal]
Alright, punch. Punch it in.
Okay, let's, first of all, refresh the screen here. Alright, and go into "format ruler".
[Lloyd punches at the keyboard]
All right. Now, file?
[presses a key]
[...] See more »
The closing credits are displayed over a moving shot of Paul's office, during which more and more employees show up for work. When the camera passes Paul's desk again, he has disappeared. See more »
To get an understanding of the caliber film we're dealing with, you have to imagine some of the finest elements of other films being wound into a tight 95 minute package and directed by the incomparable Martin Scorsese. After Hours reminds this critic in many ways of Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. But somehow it seems to be about the best elements of that film. Our film deals with a mild-mannered Manhattan office worker taking a late night trip to the Soho district to meet up with a beautiful woman he first encountered earlier in the evening. So, much like with Tom Cruise in EWS, we have a protagonist searching for love in a world completely foreign to him. But instead of a never ending and overly talky film, we get a tightly wound and much better paced film from Scorsese. When the film does slow down for conversations, the ones we're treated to are comparable to the best Tarantino ever wrote for any of his films. Fortunately we don't get too many of them, like we would in a Tarantino film, however.
Griffin Dunne plays Paul Hackett, who is bound and determined to hook up with Marcy (Rosanne Arquette) whom he met in a restaurant earlier that evening. Once he makes it to Soho, Paul quickly realizes this spur-of-the-moment rendezvous may have been a terrible idea. Apparently Soho is (or was in 1985) a macabre place full of eccentric artists, bondage enthusiasts, and vigilante mobs made up of mostly gay people. Not only does Paul fail to score with Marcy, he ends up being stranded in the neighborhood with no money to get home, and being blamed for several apartment break-ins by a crowd that wants his blood! Every place or person he turns to for help seems to get him deeper and deeper into danger. There are all kinds of famous or soon to be famous people popping up in little roles here and there. Will Patton as a leather clad bondage enthusiast may be the most odd. Also look for Scorsese in a nightclub sporting a beard and shining a spotlight down on the rowdy patrons.
Unlike many Scorsese films, this one does not rely much at all on violence to get the point of danger across. I believe there is only one violent death, and the victim is not a main character. But in true Scorcese form, the scene produces a laugh! More than anything else, this film has a claustrophobic feeling. It's as if the world is crumbling all around Paul Hackett, and the next door he walks through may be his last. By the final fifteen minutes, he finds himself in the apartment of a gay man he picks on the street. To the man's obvious disappointment, Hackett simply wants someone to tell his story to. Before the scene has any type of logical conclusion, Hackett finds himself back on the street running for his life once again. His momentary attempt at finding compassion shattered in the blink of an eye. The whole film is kind of like that.
After Hours may not be for all tastes, but this critic first saw it back in junior high and never forgot what a treasure it is. 10 of 10 stars.
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