Peter Burt’s review published on Letterboxd:
The nighttime is another world. It has its own rules. Street lights and neon signs bathe the city in a shadowy, otherworldly glow. Recognisable things become obscured. The people that populate the dark are strange and even menacing. Martin Scorsese’s After Hours understands this like no other.
It’s a film of falling dominoes. Things go increasingly wrong for our poor protagonist, Paul Hackett (a perfect Griffin Dunne). He’s a rat trapped in a labyrinth. A man who’s constantly emasculated. Watching him flail from scene to scene brings a twisted entertainment that I was addicted to. He’s a brutally human person in that he’s so bad at being human. He’s not a guy to like, but we all got a little Paul in us. His mission to return home, to safety, to comfort, is something we can all relate to. And his utter desperation to achieve this goal - which comes out in sporadic moments throughout - reaches extreme lengths, but never feels unrealistic. A recurring nightmare and intrusive thought of mine is something similar to what’s depicted here; when the whole world is against you, and the questionable decisions you have to make to keep pushing.
This Scorsese fella is pretty talented, ay? It’s a nightmare that’s impossible to look away from. So wonderfully crafted and directed, with amazing shots and camera tricks. The look of the film is beautiful and dirty. A punchy script that never falters. It’s honestly my favourite film of his. The first Scorsese joint that truly struck a chord with me. His films are all great, but I often feel detached to them. That’s not the case here...
After Hours got to me.