After Hours (1985) Film Review: A Surreal Nighttime Adventure

Movie Bunker Score:

The Mesmerizing Chaos of Scorsese’s After Hours

Prepare yourself for a wild journey through the underworld of downtown New York as we explore Martin Scorsese’s hidden gem, After Hours. While Scorsese is widely celebrated for his iconic films like Goodfellas and Taxi Driver, After Hours often goes unnoticed. But let me tell you, this film is a true masterpiece that deserves your attention.

A Quirky Night of Angst

After Hours is a thrilling and captivating watch that follows the chaotic night of one man, Paul Hackett, brilliantly portrayed by Griffin Dunne. Paul, a seemingly ordinary office worker trapped in the monotony of his repetitive life, embarks on an all-night adventure that leads him to encounter a colorful cast of strange and fascinating characters. From the moment he meets Mary, played by Rosanna Arquette, in a cafe diner, Paul’s night takes a sharp turn as he plunges into a series of crises and unexpected complications that seem impossible to escape.

A Worker Bee in the Concrete Jungle

Paul, much like Fight Club’s Narrator, is a product of a capitalist society. He is devoted to his mundane office job and leads a life ruled by routine and familiarity. The highlight of his day is reading his favorite book, “Tropic of Cancer” by Henry Miller, as he clings to the comfort of the known. However, when Mary enters his life, everything changes. The night unfolds with a slow buildup of nightmares and challenges, from losing his money to facing encounters with the law and finding himself on the run from various individuals he has crossed paths with. The chaos seems unending, and Paul quickly realizes that venturing into the unknown may not have been the wisest decision.

A Kafkaesque Night of Strangeness

After Hours has often been described as “Kafkaesque,” and rightly so. The film progressively becomes more bizarre and surreal, subjecting Paul to a series of unfortunate events that most people wouldn’t experience in a lifetime. Yet, amazingly, Paul remains resolute and tenaciously fights through this macabre night, even showing up for work the next day. One can’t help but admire his determination and wonder how one person can endure such a cascade of misfortune.

A Charismatic Performance by Rosanna Arquette

Rosanna Arquette delivers a captivating and zealous performance as Mary, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the first half of After Hours. Paul is immediately drawn to Mary’s roommate, Kiki, portrayed by Linda Fiorentino, and attempts to impress her by purchasing Kiki’s latest specialty—plaster of Paris bagel and cream cheese paperweights. However, despite not possessing the charm desired by the women he pursues, Paul remains unfazed and swiftly moves on to the next opportunity.

An Awakening and Unwanted Change

As we contemplate the impact of this night on Paul’s life, an interesting theory arises. Could this nighttime odyssey be the catalyst for Paul’s transformation and the ultimate reason for his departure from his mundane job? In the closing credits, we observe Paul’s empty desk. Perhaps this signifies the courage he gains from his extraordinary experiences and a newfound willingness to embrace change. Just like in The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy learns to believe in herself, Paul’s night of chaos may be viewed as his awakening or metaphorical encounter with a “Wizard.” Armed with newfound courage, Paul can embark on new ventures and exciting opportunities, no longer bound by his fear of the unknown.

Experience the Intensity of After Hours

If you are a fan of comedies or eager to explore more of Scorsese’s filmography, then After Hours is an absolute must-watch. It combines the frenetic energy of Good Time with the quirkiness of Desperately Seeking Susan. Prepare yourself for an intense and mind-boggling experience as you unravel the meaning behind each character and every twist and turn. While After Hours can be confusing at times, its sheer entertainment value is undeniable. Griffin Dunne’s exceptional performance alone makes this film worth every minute of your late-night indulgence, ideally with a glass of wine in hand.


After Hours is now available to stream on digital platforms, offering you the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in this mesmerizing cinematic journey. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness the chaos and brilliance of Scorsese’s After Hours.


After Hours stands as a testament to Scorsese’s genius, showcasing his ability to deliver a captivating and perplexing tale that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Through Paul Hackett’s unforgettable night, audiences are reminded of the power of embracing the unknown, even amidst chaos and confusion. This hidden gem is a reminder that greatness can be found in unexpected places, and sometimes the most exhilarating experiences happen when we venture outside our comfort zone.


1. Is After Hours based on a true story?

No, After Hours is not based on a true story. It is a work of fiction crafted by Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Joseph Minion.

2. How long did it take to film After Hours?

The production of After Hours spanned approximately 24 days, giving Scorsese and his talented team ample time to bring this gripping story to life.

3. Where can I find more films similar to After Hours?

If you enjoyed After Hours, you might also appreciate films like “Good Time” directed by Ben and Josh Safdie or “Desperately Seeking Susan” directed by Susan Seidelman.

4. Is After Hours a comedy or a thriller?

After Hours can be best described as a dark comedy with elements of a psychological thriller. It masterfully blends humor and suspense, creating a unique viewing experience.

5. What other Martin Scorsese films should I watch?

If you want to further explore Scorsese’s filmography, don’t miss classics like “Goodfellas,” “Taxi Driver,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” These films showcase Scorsese’s incredible storytelling ability and his talent for capturing memorable performances on-screen.