Robert Plunket

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After Hours Review


Extraordinary
It's one of cinema's greatest freak-outs. The mild-mannered and terminably hapless Paul (Griffin Dunne, in the defining role of his career) encounters Marcy (Rosanna Arquette, ditto) in a coffee shop, reading Tropic of Cancer, naturally. When he gets her number and takes a cab ride to a desolate and rain-drenched SoHo to meet her at her loft, things take a turn for the bizarre -- with Paul finding himself entangled with an intertwined web of people, including an obsessive cocktail waitress (Teri Garr), a suicidal girl, a possibly murderous sculptress (Linda Fiorentino), an unhinged ice cream truck driver (Catherine O'Hara), and a whole host of other characters that represent some of the wackiest nutjobs in cinema. No one else seems to notice it's so bizarre except for Paul: As Dick Miller's diner cook character puts it, when it's after hours, "Different rules apply."

By the end, Paul is on the run from an angry mob who thinks he's a burglar, fleeing in fear for his life. Will he escape? Well, rest assured that After Hours is actually a comedy. It's also one of my favorite Martin Scorsese movies (and a massive departure from his grittier fare), fresh every time you see it and full of little touches that you catch more of with each subsequent viewing. Check out the rows of Aqua Net in Garr's apartment. Or the "tie" she's wearing.

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Robert Plunket

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