After Hours (1985) is one of Martin Scorcese’s less well-known efforts but, for our money, this blackest of black comedies is one of his best and it stars the underrated Griffin Dunne so you know it’s good.
It’s a brilliantly tense film that tells the story of Paul Hackett, described in the plot as a ‘Word Processor’ which was apparently a job before word processors became popular, who takes a trip to Soho (the American one) to meet a girl before being trapped with no money and no way home out in Manhattan.
The dismaying turn of events is something to behold and the film’s cast of ordinary and extraordinary characters come together to make a wonderful, if unsettling, film. Marcy (played by Patricia Arquette) delivers one of the film’s most telling lines.
Marcy: My husband was a movie freak. Actually, he was particularly obsessed with one movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” He talked about it constantly. I thought it was cute at first. On our wedding night, I was a virgin. When we made love – you’ve seen the movie, haven’t you?
Paul Hackett: “The Wizard of Oz”? Yeah.
Marcy: Well, whenever he – you know, when he came…
Paul Hackett: Yeah.
Marcy: …he would scream out, “Surrender Dorothy!” That’s all! Just “Surrender Dorothy!”