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
The first thirty minutes of the film are based on radio artist Joe Frank's 1982 N.P.R. Playhouse monologue "Lies". Some of the dialogue and plot elements in the film are lifted verbatim from the program, including Paul meeting Marcy in the deli, the bagels-and-cream-cheese paperweights, Paul calling Marcy that same night to buy the paperweights, Paul losing his cab fare when it flies out of the window, Marcy being raped by a former boyfriend who came down the fire escape and falling asleep during said rape, Marcy being married to a man working overseas whom she writes to every day, and said husband's sexual quirk. Joe Frank filed a lawsuit against the producers and was then paid handsomely in a settlement. See more »
June addresses Paul by his name twice, although he never tells her his name. 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 »
I saw this when this first came out about 19 (!) years ago, and it became my favorite movie of 1985, and probably my favorite Scorsese film ("Goodfellas" is right there with it). However it always seemed that I was the only one who felt that way. It was no sensation at the box office (even by art film standards), it was ignored by all the awards as far as I remember, and no DVD release.
Until now. First off, I am happy to report that the new DVD release looks and sounds great. It feels like the film came out last year.
Now, years down the road, you really appreciate how accomplished "After Hours" is in the wake of 100s of inferior indie releases that ape the urban paranoia and "downtown" sensibility that this seems to effortlessly catch. The film is pitch perfect:you sense a filmmaker in complete command, but the film is always off balance (as intended). The plot seems to flow randomly and the movie always defies your expectations, yet it's as tightly assembled as a jigsaw puzzle.
It's easy to catch the Scorsese style of shooting and editing, really starting to roll here (before taking off in "The Color of Money" and "Goodfellas"), as the engine of the movie. You have to remind yourself that every other director was not trying to make movies this way at this point (1985), and that you are watching the inventor, not just the best practitioner.
But don't overlook the cast's contributions. Perfectly cast down to the smallest roles (yes, I mean you Dick Miller), few things are more enjoyable than watching an able cast take the ball and run with it. Obviously having a blast, they not only jump into their parts, but they have no hesitation at being unlikable and annoying. Particularly Griffin Dunne, the perfect Everyman, who becomes more and more of a jerk as the night wears on.
27 of 36 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?