After Hours

After Hours ★★★★

A bizarre night-time adventure through the streets of New York, Martin Scorsese’s After Hours follows bumbling fool Paul Hackett, who finds himself to be the protagonist of a series of coincidences after he decides to visit a girl who gave him her number.

Starting with a pen that won’t write and a 20-dollar bill flying out of the window of a taxi, his night is one thing gone wrong after another. Paul seems to have entered a world with its own laws, where everything is upside down and his worst nightmares come alive. Even New York – the city of all possibilities – is smaller than ever, as it’s made into a maze of a few streets that Paul is unable to escape.

A lot of what happens to Paul is based on pure coincidence that escalates in his mind, but what he feels is as real as can be. His paranoia grows as the night goes on and everyone who offers to help him turns against him. Paul is a sympathetic protagonist. An office worker by day, he has no place in this bizarre world. His life is normally quiet, but he ends up in this mess due to his desire to be more spontaneous. Griffin Dunne is very charming in the role. His good intensions and bad luck endear him to the audience immediately, while his confusion and desperation transcend the screen.

After Hours is probably Martin Scorsese’s least Scorsese film, but that doesn’t mean that it’s lesser than the work he’s known for. His direction makes Paul’s every feeling tangible, while the unnatural manner in which the camera moves in certain scenes makes the world he’s entered feel unstable and even malleable to the intentions of whatever higher power has a vendetta against him.

An intense and confusing venture into the night, After Hours leaves its questions unanswered and its secrets well-kept, with its only concrete aspect being the emotions it creates. It’s undoubtedly a stressful, but good time, as well as another reason for every introvert to be happy they don’t go out much.

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