After Hours

After Hours ★★★★½

What do you want from me? I'm just a word processor!

I have this one reoccurring nightmare... I call it reoccurring because its the same kind of dream, but not always in the same location. And I call it a nightmare because I wake up drained, exhausted and frankly kind of stressed out despite nothing terrifying ever happening.

I'm sitting somewhere. At work. At a lobby somewhere. A hospital or doctors office. A random house. Wherever. The thing is, I can't ever leave on my own. I'm stranded there with no way out. Just sitting there waiting for something or someone to come get me and it never happens.

One of my pet peeves is waiting on people or being stuck, so I believe these dreams to be a psychological kind of torture. Especially when this dream of mine only ends when I wake up, which adds even further to the torture. The thing im waiting for never happens. Its an odd sense of uneasy and unrestful atmosphere. Its awful.

Martin Scorsese's After Hours is the personification of that dream.

You're sitting in your boring desk job downtown training the loudmouth new guy. You go home. You mindlessly flip through the tv channels. The same old shit you do every single day. It feels like a dream. Except this time in your boredom and insomnia you go grab a cup of coffee at a diner around the block. You strike up a conversation with a mysterious person. Then your night turns into a living hell and you're trapped in a seemingly worse situation than before... But is it?

This is a film about embracing the weirdness and the absurd, often scary world beyond your comfort zone.

That's essentially all you need to know plot wise about After Hours. It has Griffin Dune as a bored word processor who gets stranded downtown many miles from home with no money, no energy and no patience. His journey takes him into the weirdest parts of nocturnal New York; its clear that Scorsese meant to capture the very essence of the night. Specifically, night time in the Big Apple. His love and admiration for New York is apparent via the energetic and believable portrayal of its characters, atmosphere and all the weird nooks and crannies of this strange nightmarish tale. The film is a mere hour and thirty seven minutes long, but it feels like, well, a whole night. The characters paranoia and confusion increases by the minute and makes for a strangely alluring but also pretty draining experience. I had to pause it and go get a drink and take a breather because the film is just so unrelentingly stressful in its trip down the urban rabbit hole.

But that doesn't mean that After Hours is a dreadful experience. Its actually a really funny and amusingly strange film that showcases both a strong visual prowess and and big beating heart. Scorsese's film is alive in every sense of the word. Its offbeat quirky meandering and twisty nonsensical narrative lift this film right out of your dreams but more importantly, off the pages of the wonderful screenplay that Scorsese fell in love with. Its a wildly original story and an auteur like Scorsese is a perfect fit for the crazy characters and locales this film puts in the spotlight. I cannot stress enough how dreamy this film is. Its almost covered in a late night mist or haze and makes the neon signs and the warm lighting pop. When watching this film its hard not to kind of just sink in your seat, relax your eyelids and get comfy with this films laid back, mystical, but at the same time pervasive ambiance.

No words can properly describe what kind of trip After Hours is. Its my new go-to late night film and I can't wait to spend many restless nights with the poor sap stranded in SoHo who wants nothing more than to go home to his apartment and collapse on his bed. But he can't. And he doesn't. His night never ends or slows down and before he knows it, he is right back at work, getting sucked up and absorbed into the corporate machine once again; no one knows the night he had.

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