While some filmmakers eschew any kind of online presence, thank God Steven Soderbergh is bringing his intelligence and wit online. Already active on Twitter, the filmmaker has found a new outlet via his online store and blog Extension 765, and he’s taken a time out to sing the praises of an underrated Martin Scorsese gem, “After Hours.”
Scorsese’s hilarious 1985 film is still one of his leanest, tightest, more purely straight-up entertaining movies to date, a it-happened-in-one-night of one man nearly consumed by New York City all in the name of a girl. Soderbergh calls it a “huge inspiration” and particularly highlights how the small stakes and economical production made the idea of moviemaking an accessible one. Here’s an excerpt of Soderbergh’s thoughts which you can read in full right here. And be sure to check out this 20-minute documentary and deleted scenes from the movie in case you missed it.
I saw this film half a dozen times at the Bon Marche Mall cinema in Baton Rouge when it was in its initial release, and it was a huge inspiration to me. Looking at it now, I can see why: the things that are great about it don’t/didn’t have anything to do with having a lot of money (Catherine O’Hara trying to confuse Griffin Dunne while he attempts to remember a phone number), so it seemed within reach to an aspiring young filmmaker growing up in a suburban subdivison. Sure, there’s plenty of the patented Scorsese formal flourishes, but nothing that can’t be achieved with a standard Fisher dolly, and that’s why it all seems possible; it’s humor, insight, style, and impact are built out of a series of brilliantly constructed small things (unless I’m mistaken, Scorsese hasn’t made a cheaper dramatic feature since).
And what a great screenplay. What the fuck happened to Joseph Minion? He also wrote VAMPIRE’S KISS, which is worth watching just for the scenes between Nicolas Cage and Maria Conchita Alonzo (AM I GETTING THROUGH TO YOU, ALMA?), and then I don’t know what happened to him. And I’m not going to troll the Internet to find out. The way information is doled out in this film is fucking masterful, an absolute clinic in implication and inference—none of the key events that drive the story forward and fuck with the main character occur onscreen—and the math of plotting is absolutely airtight.