After Hours

After Hours ★★★★

I have watched this film multiple times, usually past midnight, tucked warmly in bed in my pyjamas. Which is ironic because it tells the story of a man’s desperate and ultimately fruitless attempt to return home after he ventures out onto the streets of Manhattan late at night. It has all the usual Scorsese flourishes, and then some more- a twenty dollar bill flies through the night air while stirring notes of flamenco music play in the background; keys thrown from a loft turn into a portent of doom as they crash loudly into the pavement below. New York itself is a town with many sharp edges, leavened only a little by its many weirdos and eccentrics. Did I mention Rosanna Arquette, who plays a deeply troubled, and wounded girl named Marcie? She is introduced to us as an alluring stranger in a café, drifting through the city with no real home. She is the affective center of this film, a confused pixie queen about to implode.
I enjoy watching this film for many reasons, one of which is that I love cities at night, and how they empty out after having served their primary purpose of herding workers together into offices. There is something about the vagabond night that evades the mercenary logic of capitalism. As After Hours tells it however, what takes over might be just as dark, and only a little stranger.

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