Review: After Hours

I think this film represents the closest Scorsese has ever come to making a comedy. Well, apart from the Joe Pesci parts in his gangster films. I say closest because it feels as far away from the comedies of today, which try to create laughter filled romps that more often than not miss more than they hit. It’s a film that doesn’t smash you over the head with its premise; in fact I went in knowing it was a film by Scorsese and nothing else: not the actors, the story, nothing. I went in completely blind and could not be happier with that decision.

After Hours is hilarious but not in the manner you would think or expect. It starts of slowly; Paul (Griffin Dunne) apparently bored by his life at work goes to a cafe and meets a woman called Marcy (Rosanna Arquette). Said woman invites him over to her house and the film snowballs from there on becoming increasingly ridiculous as he finds himself in many strange situations. I won’t spoil anything specific about the film in this mini-review, as I think its best if you go into it with as little information as you can.

Essentially all he wants to do is go home but the Fates/Gods conspire against him. It unfolds in the manner of a series of unfortunate events that are all inter-related  and as the narrative progresses and things get more and more ludicrous and I found it hard to stifle the laughs. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this done before, however I’m not quite sure where but I do wish that there was more comedy like this today, slower in pace and really emphasising the laughs, rather than comedies such as Dinner for Schmucks (review coming soon).

It’s still feels like a Scorsese film, his unique dolly moves, sped up footage (unfortunately no whip pans) are there, accopanied by some interesting classical music choices. There are a few of his trademark references to other films, (I’m pretty sure one moment is a reference to the Lumiere Brothers’ “Workers Leaving the Factor”).  It’s interesting to see how a storied filmmaker like Scorsese manages to intertwine his sensibilities with a genre I’m sure he hasn’t dallied in very much. This film has me looking forward to his adaptation of Hugo Cabaret for no other reason than being an affirmation of his talent, especially when he’s away from the crime genre.

I’ve probably become too hyperbolic in my praise but if you get the chance I’ll hope you’ll have as good a time as I did.

In fact stop reading this and go watch it already!




Posted on 08/01/2011, in Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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