Saturday, February 21, 2015

After Hours (1985)

Dark, offbeat comedy, intriguingly directed by Martin Scorsese, right after the dark, offbeat KING OF COMEDY. Scorsese was not the original choice to direct the film, and it shows: it bears little of his style, and seems to call for a director who would be more in touch with the absurd elements of the script. Tim Burton was apparently originally considered to direct, and it's tempting to think about what he would have done with the material, with a more self-consciously stylized approach and even an animator's sensibilities. As it is, the film's "look" is an uneasy mix of realism and fantasy. Though shot on location in New York, the city's streets have never looked more like a backlot set.

Griffin Dunne stars as a New York office worker who gets sucked into one crazy night of nightmarish events in downtown Manhattan, which begins when he goes to the apartment of a young woman whom he'd made a date with earlier that evening. From there, things spiral out of control, and his efforts to take care of one problem invariably leads to another one. Before long, all he wants to do is to get home, but this proves to be far more difficult than he could have ever expected.

The cast of characters that he meets along the way include Rosanna Arquette, Teri Garr, John Heard, Catherine O'Hara, Linda Fiorentino, Verna Bloom and the always-wonderful Cheech & Chong, who effortlessly walk away with the film's funniest moments as a pair of bumbling burglars. The talented cast really makes the film work, adding immeasurable value with their vivid and quirky characterizations.

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