kailey’s review published on Letterboxd:
marty gets weird as the night goes on.
can this be categorized as an alice in wonderland remake? a man trips through the looking glass and finds himself in a new dimension that feels ever so slightly off. new york in scorsese movies is always a beautiful hell but it's not usually as trippy as this. the whole world here is populated by strange women and neon diners. the editing is frenetic and fun, the movie pops stylistically in a way that taxi driver and the king of comedy don't.
usually, i find the themes of scorsese's movies to be pretty easy to get a handle on but this one was...rough. i can't help thinking that there's a religious metaphor in there somewhere (there's always a religious metaphor in there somewhere.) the liminal office space that griffin dunne starts out in strikes me as purgatory. the nightmarish night he endures after leaving that space strikes me as hell. burning and fire motifs are everywhere. temptation is there too- and he gives in. several times.
is the whole movie him being punished for his sins (and what sins are those- he's a bit of a horn-dog and maybe a creep but in the stable of marty protagonists, he's practically a saint)? does he return back to his office purgatory, a slightly wiser man, repented? what was the point in his suffering?
or heck, is there no metaphor at all, and this is simply a kafka-esque black comedy i'm reading far too much into? if there's any scorsese film that probably doesn't need too much analysis, it's this one. turn off your brain, baby. smoke a joint. pretend that it's the 80s, cell-phones don't exist, and new york before gentrification is real. just don't tease a cute blonde and you'll be okay.