Documentary review: Tintin et moi (2003)

Like many kids, I grew up reading Tintin albums. Great escapism, which rivalled the Bond films for exotic locations, and had a humour all of its own. Today Tintin is about nostalgia for me.

With the new movie out in cinemas, seems to be a good time to review this documentary about the author of Tintin, which is regarded as one of the most interesting documentaries about Belgian Herge and his famous comic universe. The first film where Herge talks about himself, and not just other people talking about him.

Based in part on previously unreleased archive tape footage. Herge was animated using old TV-interviews. The animation of Herge felt like a ghost from the past, and watching encourages you to rediscover the comics and watch the new Spielberg movie, and see Tintin in a new light.

The film is a co-production between Denmark, Belgium, France, and Switzerland. The film is based on Numa Sadoul's revealing interviews with Hergé from the 1970s (Herge died in 1983), and goes into detail about Hergé's life and how the success of Tintin affected him.

Several people upon the release of Tintin et moi questioned that not all the albums were looked at and thought the doc was too dark and Freudian considering the comics are funny and dramatic adventures. The director defended himself by saying that Herge had a dark side, which revealed itself in the audio interview, and that insecurity and doubt was also part of Herges life.

Approximately 350 million Tintin albums have been sold worldwide. Written for children, although adults can also enjoy the comics and relate to the characters.

Tintin is a brave reporter, always fighting against injustice. Tintin’s faithful dog Snowy accompanied him on his adventures. Some have pointed out the Tintin character is boring, and doesn’t have many emotions. It’s the surroundings, which make the albums special, the places he travels, and supporting characters he meets.

Captain Haddock was very different to Tintin, yet they were friends, Haddock had a bit of a temper and drinking problem. During the comics, we also meet other colourful characters such as Dupond and Dupont, the clumsy detectives, as well as hearing-impaired Professor Tournesol.

The albums are graphically of a high level, beautifully drawn, an artful quality. Herge had a rare talent of combining skilful drawing with great storytelling. The stories have elements of fantasy and realism.

Deep down the stories are about Herge himself, made during a time span of 47 years. The Tintin albums are at times contemporary journalism, about 50 years of politics, wars, cars, trains, airplanes, businessmen, dictators, and scientists. You can follow the time line of the 20th Century by reading the adventures of Tintin. On top of that, we get paranormal happenings, dreams, scary moments, things connected to the soul.

Tintin is Herge’s method of expressing himself, his problems, for example in Tintin in Tibet. During the making, Herge was going through a personal crisis and contacted a therapist. He dreamt only in white, and yearned for purity.

Further, Herge admits Tintin is a projection of himself, his alterego. The hero without fear, who Herge dreamed of being and strived towards. During the years, characters emerged with flaws and weaknesses. Captain Haddock had many faults, but we accept him anyway. Dupond and Dupont are idiots, which Herge admits he was too sometimes. There is a desire to be a hero, which Herge seldom was in real life, maybe never. Perhaps he was a hero for other people, but it was difficult for Herge to look upon himself as a hero.

Herge was a scout just like Tintin, and Herge thought promises and loyalty were very important up until his death, just as a scout has those principles. Herge was brought up as catholic, and always had trouble in life ignoring the idea of sin. He suffered when he didn’t keep his word.

Herge felt his childhood was grey and average, he didn’t look back on it fondly. Things started to lighten up when he met Abbed Wallez, editor of a catholic newspaper. Wallez apparent admired Germany and supported the Italian fascism. The youth section of the paper was intended to influence young people politically. He discovered Herge in the ad department. He asked him to create a young hero, a catholic reporter, who fought for good in the world. In 1929, Tintin came to life.
Tintin’s first adventure took place in Soviet Russia. The weekly comics were a success. In the beginning, Tintin was no more than an illustration of the propaganda the boss had submitted to Herge, for example Tintin in Congo, where the Belgian reign is the only way the Africans could get by. Herge didn’t really know what he was doing at the time and drew out of ignorance.

The Blue Lotus was a turning point and is by many regarded as a masterpiece. When Herge announced that Tintin was going to Asia he received a letter from editor Abbed Wallez to not make the Chinese fake and not to make fun of them, which could cause much damage. So he contacted a young Chinese man who was a painter and sculptor named Tchang-Tchong-Jen. He taught Herge many new things, Chinese poems, signs and words used in China. The big street images in Shanghai in Tintin in Tibet with Chinese banners and posters are all genuine Chinese words. Down with imperialism for example. From then onwards, the subsequent albums became very detailed.

Tintin travelled all over the planet, Herge travelled nowhere. He was an armchair tourist. Through extensive research and cuttings, Herge new of these countries. One of his favourite places to go was the Ciquantenaire museum in Brussels. For instance the sculpture in the album The Broken Ear can be found in the museum.

In King Ottokar’s Sceptre, Herge clearly criticizes a country called Bordurien, which obviously is Germany during WW2. For instance they have fighter planes. It was dangerous for him to question Germany in the late 30s. The villain is Müsstler, a combination of Mussolini and Hitler.
The newspaper where he worked was closed down by the Nazis, when Germany occupied Brussels. Herge was offered to continue working for Le Soir, however the newspaper was controlled by the Nazis.
During this period Herge began writing stories about hidden treasures and meteorites. Politics disappeared from the albums, the adventures became neutral and pure escapism.
In a way, Herge now turned into captain Haddock, the grumpy, cynical, middle-aged man who wanted to be left alone. In the album The Shooting Star, an apocalypse is near, perhaps Herge is talking about how he imagines WW2 will end.

The British liberated Brussels in September 1944. Herge was arrested, as it was assumed he had been working for the Germans.
Herge was released after one night in jail, his editor received 4 years.
After the war, Herge worked at a youth magazine for Leblanc, they wanted Herge to write 2 pages a week, and the workload started to take its toll on him, and he had several nervous breakdowns, where he escaped abroad.
Herge wrote to his wife, that he was tired of always writing the same story, sick of grinding out new adventures all the time. His view of the world had changed.

Creating his own studio was the solution, it gave him artistic freedom. He hoped to liberate himself from commercial pressure, so he could work in peace together with capable assistants, whom he could assign some of the legwork.

It was a period of great precision, and a passion for realism. Herge thought realism was the key to a great adventure. In the album The Calulus Affair the scenes from Geneva are completely accurate, the road to Nyon exactly as today.

The documentary Tintin et moi/Tintin and me/Tintin and I/ is available on dvd with English subtitles, if you can find it. On my top 10 list of documentaries. Full of interesting facts, some of which I’ve listed above. A candidate I think for most underrated documentary ever! So obviously recommended ( :

A poster for the 2011 Spielberg motion capture Tintin movie:

What do you think of Tintin? Did you grow up reading the comics? Have you seen Spielberg’s new film The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn? I plan to see it tonight!




Songs for your iPod

Honestly I'm not the biggest supporter of The National, their 2010 album I found a bit emotionally detached and uninvolving. Below are three recent tracks by The National I thought had heart.)

Think you can wait - The National

(My favourite by them, from the soundtrack of Win Win )


Wake Up Your Saints - The National

(Bonus track from the expanded edition of the band's 2010 album)


Exile Vilify - The National

(from the soundtrack of videogame Portal 2)

Any thoughts on this week's music, listeners?

Film review: Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (1991)

A brief review today. No spoilers. An inspiring true life story set in the 1920s and 1930s. I think this is my first Disney review on movies and songs 365!
A confident runaway orphan Sonora (Gabrielle Anwar) joins a travelling stunt show, her youth and inexperience stand in the way of greater things. There are several twists to the story I won’t spoil here.

The old-fashioned story stayed with me, I haven’t written many nostalgic write-ups lately, and Wild hearts can’t be broken certainly has a nostalgic feeling for me. A forgotten gem of the 90s.

The characters are likeable and Gabrielle Anwar is as cute as she was in the famous tango scene in Scent of a woman (1992) below. Gabrielle Anwar has an ageless quality, she can play a 15-year-old, or a 25 year-old, and its surprising she didn’t become a bigger star.

The diving horse shows I thought were well done, and I myself didn’t even know such shows took place in real life. I’ve read the idea of the diving horse was developed in Texas by 'Doctor' William F. Carver, a marksman who had toured in Wild West shows. Diving horses soon became a staple of state fairs and carnivals around the US. Today they are rare, as animal rights organizations don't approve.

An above average production, they really paid attention to the look and cinematography of the film:

Several people on IMDB call it their favourite movie of all time growing up, and I can understand why. Probably most suited for teenage girls or women due to the horses, but it’s definitely a family movie everyone can watch with plenty of colourful characters.

I recommend it, if you are in the mood for a light and entertaining coming-of-age tale. A movie you can get emotionally involved in, and which can make you smile. The title is also pretty memorable I think.

Readers, any thoughts on Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken? Have you seen it, or do you want to see the movie?



Songs for your iPod

I pretty much enjoyed the whole 5 track EP from 2011, here are 3 of the songs:

An Argument With Myself - Jens Lekman

(Tricky to label his music, indie or Lekman-esque?)


A Promise - Jens Lekman


Waiting For Kirsten - Jens Lekman

(I think its about Kirsten Dunst)

Listeners, any thoughts on the music?

Film review: The Aviator (2004)

Just a brief review today.

Probably not of the same brilliance as some of Scorsese’s earlier masterpieces. All the same it’s an entertaining ride and an interesting biopic of one of the 20th century’s most fascinating individuals, Howard Hughes. Even if you like me knew next to nothing about Hughes, it’s a fun watch.

Was Howard Hughes a genius or a madman? You can argue in both directions. He was incredibly wealthy, impulsive, reckless, flirtatious, and in later years, eccentric and reclusive. What would you do with a fortune? In Howard Hughes case he decides to make movies, which would become among the most expensive, controversial and ambitious of the 1930s. He produced the original Scarface (1932), Hughes battled with censor boards over the violence.

Scorsese’s film may resurrect interest in some of Hughes’ previous work, I definitely want to catch the war epic Hells Angels (1930), after watching the making of it during The Aviator.

Hughes was a flying enthusiast, a pioneer of human aviation, risking his life by opting to fly experimental airplanes himself. Even after plan crashes, he still continued to want to build planes and be a pilot.

Its tough for me to comment on the performances, as I am not terribly familiar with the real life Howard Hughes, depicted here by long time Scorsese collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio. I have not viewed enough of the movies of the real Katharine Hepburn (played by Cate Blanchett) to really say if she behaves like that. Then again, we mostly see Katharine Hepburn’s private life, so maybe comparing is only possible for her family and friends.

What I can say is I found the Ava Gardner character to be under-developed, not enough screen time, we never really discover why they were attracted to one another in the first place, which is a pity. In comparison, Katharine Hepburn’s romantic involvement with Howard Hughes was far more interesting and gave an insight into how these two big celebrities of the past met and spent time together. I was never bored, despite the running time clocking in at whopping two hours and forty-six minutes. Perhaps they should have shortened the film by cutting out Ava Gardner?

The huge budget is all up there on the screen, technically impressive, with giant sets and huge airplane action scenes. A film worth watching once, but I don’t think it holds up to many viewings unless you are particularly interested in the era it depicts. I would have liked to know a bit more about why Howard Hughes wanted to lock himself away at times, and other times wanted to date the Hollywood stars, the film doesn’t really address why Hughes behaviour was so polarized? As another reviewer points out, Scorsese clearly is on Howard Hughes’ side in the movie, particularly in the court case battles. Scorsese’s mission as a director appears to be to celebrate the guy.

Any thoughts on The Aviator (2004) ? This review today brings to a close my recent Scorsese blogathon, hope you enjoyed reading! Are you interested in other director blogathons of this nature on my site in future?



Favourite quotes from The Rum Diary (2011)

The movie was decent without being great, Johnny Depp was never cooler. Everyone talks about Giovanni Ribisi in an almost unrecognizable supporting role stealing Depp's sunshine, though I thought Richard Jenkins' likewise unidentifiable supporting performance was impressive too.
The dialogue struck me as being the strongest suit of The Rum Diary. I enjoy the crazy humour of writer Hunter S. Thompson. So in keeping with my blog idea of ONLY posting what I like, below are a few quotes that amused me from the script:

“The problem with this newspaper Mr Kemp is that I don’t enjoy reading it”

“How much do you drink?”
“I suppose the upper end of social. I’m poised to give up…Puerto Rico may not be the best place in the world to do that”

“Do you know what Oscar Wilde said? We know the price of everything, and the value of nothing”

“Maybe I can interest you fellas in something else.”
“Like what, death?”

Paul Kemp: "What's your name?"
Chenault: "Let's keep that a secret."
Paul Kemp: "But I don't even know it."
Chenault: "Then you'll keep it even better"

Paul Kemp: "I thought you said you had a TV."
Sala: "No, the guy across the alley has a TV. I have binoculars"

Readers, any thoughts on The Rum Diary ?

Songs for your iPod

Deserves to feature on many year-end-lists as one of the best albums of 2011

The Bay – Metronomy


The Look – Metronomy


She Wants - Metronomy

Listeners, any thoughts on the music?

Funny Bill Hicks: About reading

This clip makes me laugh every time. I can't wait to watch his other stand-up videos ( :

Songs for your iPod

Stone's Gone Up - David Lynch

(Lynch's voice annoyed me on quite a few of the tracks on the new album, I like how he whispers mysteriously here. Pinky's Dream (feat. Karen O) was another highlight for me.)


All or Nothing - Mutemath

(Thanks to music blog The Past and the Pending for the recommendation, cool track. He deserves more comments on his music posts!)


Even Better Than The Real Thing (Jacques Lu Cont Mix) - U2

(Is the remix better than the real thing? I think so!)

Listeners, any thoughts on this week's music?

Film review: The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988)

There are several Martin Scorsese gangster films I don't care for due to bad language and violence, but this is one of his director efforts I like.

I think "The Last Temptation Of Christ" (TLTOC) is a very moving and powerful film. An intimate character study. I won't bore you with a summary. The controversy surrounding the subject matter may have helped the box office. TLTOC has in my opinion more depth than the to me overhyped "Passion of the Christ"(2004) (POTC). In POTC it seemed like the violence overshadows the substance.

Jesus Christ's (JC) inspiring story is one we seem never to get tired of, heck we endure it every Christmas, and so many films have been made over the subject.

The problem with making a JC film is that you can never satisfy everyone. The 100 % true story will never be know or told, as we can't go back in time.

Not sure I like the idea that executives are making money from selling JC's story, though. But if you said that about everything, you would never see any films about real people.

The bible is apparently the most successful bestseller ever, and Jesus and his disciple's are in that sense arguably the best communicators the world has ever seen. Jesus was famous for using allegories, and this timeless way of illustrating your message is obviously still a widely utilized tool today in different media, film or the written word.

The story is based on a book by Nikos Kazantzakis, which I haven't read. He also wrote "Zorba the Greek", which was turned into a film in the 1960s(I didn't like it).

Scorsese on the actors studio:
“his (Nikos Kazantzakis') take on it was interesting in that he (Christ) learns that he is Jesus, that he is divine, he learns by the end of the picture, and he has to suffer, as we all do in life, to many different degrees, and go through all the things we do. Kids say, if God is God and he dies on the cross, he’s God, he knows he’s going to live, so why is he suffering, he doesn’t have anything to suffer, he doesn’t understand us. Well that’s not the case, this one suffers from the very beginning and fights against it”

TLTOC is one of those films I feel like I can watch every few years. Even though it at times feels a little odd to see Tarantino actor Harvey Keitel, and David Bowie as Pontius Pilate! Perhaps better with mostly unknowns like in POTC.

TLTOC was rated #6 of the 25 most controversial movies of all time, but to me it's refreshing to see JC as a real person, who shows his weaknesses. Interesting to ponder if JC was happy to be elected by God as God's son. TLTOC implies that JC was not aware of the impact his story would have on people.

The film more or less claims that people wanted to believe JC came back from the dead, regardless if he did or not, as it gives them hope. Interesting comparison in this media gossip era when lies are told and a celebrity can't control anymore what is said about them. Here JC can't control what people are saying he is, but creating their own truth. JC as a concept is bigger than JC as a man.

In the 80s, the film was accused of blasphemy and causing offence to the church. But you could also look at it in another way. That it’s "resurrecting" interest in JC for our new visual generation, who seem not to read as much as past generations. Although the film may be too heavy, or not true enough to the bible for some.

Film critic Roger Ebert quoted in his review: “Those offended by the film object to the very notion that Jesus could have, or even imagine having, sexual intercourse. But of course Christianity teaches that the union of man and wife is one of the fundamental reasons God created human beings, and to imagine that the son of God, as a man, could not encompass such thoughts within his intelligence is itself a kind of insult.”

Scorsese: “Jesus lived in the world, he wasn’t in a temple, he wasn’t in a church, he was in the world, on the streets. (…) It raises a lot of questions. We just wanted to make him one of us, in a sense. (…) And the idea that if it’s a man, then he has to be afraid of dying.” Ebert: “And he has to be capable of lust.” Scorsese: And he has to be capable of everything. And what I thought was so great – so great – about Kazantzaki’s book was that the last temptation is not for riches or whatever; it’s just to live a life of a common man, to have a family, to die in bed and that sort of thing. It’s almost a love that he has for mankind, you see. The love he has for us. That’s the idea. And in order to die he has to know what we go through. If he doesn’t know what we go through, what good is God, you see”
“and then I was asked why I wanted to make this film, I replied, ‘so I can get to know Jesus better.’ In a way all my life I wanted to do that: first I was going to be a priest, but it didn’t work out. The idea of loving and forgiving one’s enemies seemed so obvious and Ghandi had shown that it could be put into practice”
“I know from a priest friend that the Kazantzaki’s book is used in seminaries, not as a substitute for the Gospel, but as a parable that is fresh and alive, which they can discuss and argue about. And this is what I hoped the film would do. I believe that Jesus is fully divine, but the teaching at the catholic schools placed such an emphasis on the divine side that if Jesus walked into a room, you’d know He was God because He glowed in the dark, instead of being just another person. But if He was like that, we always thought, then when the temptations came to Him, surely it was easy to resist them because He was God. He could reject the temptation of power in the desert; He could reject especially the temptation of sex; and He could undergo the suffering on the cross, because He knew what was going to happen, what death is all about.
Over the years I’ve drifted away from the Church, I’m no longer a practising Catholic, and I’ve questioned these things. Kazantzakis took the two natures of Jesus, and Paul Moore, the Episcopal Bishop of New York, explained to me that this was Christologically correct: the debate goes back to the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when they discussed how much of Jesus was divine, and how much was human, I found this an interesting idea, that the human nature of Jesus was fighting Him all the way to the line, because it can’t conceive of Him being God. I thought this would be great drama and force people to take Jesus seriously – at least to re-evaluate his teachings”
“All the religious movies I saw and loved as a kid, such as The Robe and Quo Vadis, were more spectacle and epic film-making than religion. (…) But I wanted the Jesus in my film to be more accessible, more immediate, and to engage the audience”

Scorsese on Scorsese: “I think everybody who worked on the film, and everybody who’s read the book over the years, feel’s it’s the first time you can really believe in this relationship – that Judas did not want to betray him, but had to go through with being God’s instrument for the sacrifice of Jesus. I also wondered, if Jesus is so forgiving and preaches love, why is Judas condemned to Hell by Him for committing suicide? While we’re not saying our version is the whole truth, it makes you question and maybe understand the concept of loving a little better”

Scorsese on Scorsese: Fundamentalists were armed with two early versions of the script by Paul Schrader – obtained, Scorsese suspects, from actors who had access to copies for auditions in 1983. The screenplay was of course some way removed from the final version (…) objected to the portrayal of Jesus as a weak and indecisive man, and in particular to the scene in the ‘last temptation’ dream sequence, in which Jesus makes love to Mary while being watched by an angel”
The evangelist Bill Bright offered to reimburse the cost of the film if the studio would hand it over for destruction.
Scorsese appeared on national television to say he would not make any changes to the film, and stressed it was a work of fiction, not a verse of the Gospels. A discussion programme about the film declared that it ‘will destroy Christianity’. In response to this Jack Valenti, president of the MPAA (the US movie ratings board), wondered how a single film could wreck someone’s faith.

In New York, extra security was needed, protesters assembled outside, the area was closed to traffic, and members of the audience had their bags searched after threats were issued to slash or spray-paint screens. Similar scenes of protest, accompanied by sell-out houses, occurred in other major cities in the US. On 26 August a screen was slashed and a print of the film stolen.
With the film finally released, Scorsese spoke out more in its defence, explaining how the Schrader script had been substantially altered. He emphasized again how the ‘last temptation' is not for Christ to have sex, but to get married, make love to his wife and have children like an ordinary man’.”

A minister wrote a letter to the New York daily news saying he loved the film, was going to use it as a study guide in discussion groups, and that he felt most of the people talking about the film had not seen it. “they have a great fear of anything that threatens their idea of Jesus, because deep down they feel very frightened they might revert to their original behaviour. So I would say to them, if they really feel they might be offended, stay away, but please allow others to see the film.

You could argue a weakness of the film is you wouldn’t want a 12-year-old watching the The Last Temptation of Christ and thinking it was an accurate life of Jesus.

If you just want the basic Jesus story, you may be better off with something else. In this film you learn about the burden and stress Jesus Christ might have endured. The films questions, did Jesus really want to be Jesus?

Readers, any thoughts on the film?



Scorsese on Scorsese (2003)
Scorsese by Ebert (2008)
The Actors Studio, Scorsese interview

(revised review)


Don't write them off just yet, but when I see these faces

A young Kate Winslet, I thought, but no, its Imogen Poots!

Is Jessica Chastain the next Cate Blanchett?

What do you think?

Halloween special: My favourite horror films

The Shining (1980)
(Unforgettable over-the-top performance by Jack Nicholson. Not the scariest film in my opinion, but maybe the most re-watchable on my list, for the atmosphere and layers of meaning. Based on this film, no wonder Kubrick is often called the best director of all time. I reviewed it in 2011 here on the blog)

Psycho (1960)
(The shower scene is an iconic moment in cinema history. The mother at the house is the most frightening ordinary human being I can think of in a horror film. A masterpiece by Alfred Hitchcock.)

[Rec] (2007)
(Spanish, recommended to me by a horror fan, I was scared! Very claustrophobic and with a reality-tv feeling)

The Exorcist (1973)
(Before director William Friedkin lost his mind, he made one of the most successful horror films of the 70s. What makes it even more chilling is the fact it’s based on a true story. The image here has become a legendary reminder of the film)

Poltergeist (1982)
(You will never look the same way again at a tree outside your window, or a fuzzy tv-screen! 80s nostalgia all the way)

Gremlins (1984)
(Its actually part comedy, part horror. Not for kids, I remember I saw it fairly young, before the 15 rating on the video box said I should. The cute little creatures are not all cuddly!! Amazing to me how many classic 80s movies Corey Feldman is in, he reminds me of childhood. Feels very 80s, they don’t make em like this anymore. A definite nostalgic movie. Joe Dante is another director who was at the top of his game in the 80s, and like William Friedkin hasn't been the same since)

Eraserhead (1977)
(I’m a big Lynch fan. Not sure if Eraserhead even classifies as horror, its surreal, haunting, and very original. Possibly the weirdest film ever. I’ve only seen it once, so I should really watch it again soon. Check my review to read more)

Antichrist (2009)
(Warning, not for kids. Lars Von Trier created a controversial and lets not forget thought-provoking horror mystery. The ending and motivations of the characters still have me guessing till this day, which is a good thing. I’m currently reading Trier on Von Trier, an interview book on the director's career, so a Lars Von Trier blogathon is in the works)

The Ring (2002)
(Takes a page out of the same book as Poltergeist by making watching TV a dangerous endeavour, but goes in a different direction and is original in its own right. And of course I can watch Naomi Watts in anything. This is the US remake of a Japanese horror film)

Alien (1979)
(I usually don’t think of Alien as horror, more as atmospheric science fiction, though it has one of the most famous horror moments of all time. Much like Ridley Scotts Blade Runner, look out for the incredible art direction. The actual story has been duplicated on countless occasions, so perhaps Alien has lost some of its power for me because of this. I think it works best finding it as a teenager, that's when I loved it, anyway. The sequel Aliens (1986) is a must-see from the IMDB top 250 as well. James Cameron should direct more sequels, as T2 was also masterful)

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
(Saw it in the theatre in 99, an extremely tense experience that had me glued to the screen. Sadly doesn’t hold up well for me on TV. A film that maybe was stronger at the time, before the secret was given away, and has a modern feel to it by being an edgy documentary-style tale. Ultra low-budget feature was part of what created the hype. You won't fancy going out in the woods afterwards! I dug the sequel-even though the critics killed Blair Witch 2)

Thanks for reading! I may re-evaluate the captions when I review the films, just some quick-fire scribbling here.
Agree? Disagree with my list? What are YOUR favourite horror films, and why?

Film review: After Hours (1985)

A drama/comedy that takes place in a single night in New York. It’s a very unpredictable story, the beginning doesn’t prepare you for what will happen later. The characters slowly reveal themselves. Originally titled Lies, then A Night in SoHo, the story follows the misfortunes of Paul, a young computer operator, who accepts an invitation from an attractive women he’s met in a diner.

The atmosphere is very unique to me in this film, it’s along with the excellent music almost a character in its own right. The making of calls it “nightmarish” or “surrealistic”. I thought the acting by Rosanna Arquette was poor, though.

There is a high level of suspense in After Hours, which is technically a comedy but plays like a version of the classic Hitchcock plot formula about the innocent man wrongly accused. Film critic Roger Ebert: “The plague of bad luck seems generated by some unexplained divine wrath.”

It was shot entirely at night, sometimes with on-the-spot-improvisation of camera movements. In the making of they explain Tim Burton was going to direct, but because Scorsese’s 'The Last Temptation of Christ' fell apart in early 80s, Scorsese became interested and directed After Hours, and Burton withdrew from the project.

Scorsese has suggested that Paul’s implacable run of bad luck reflected his own frustration during the Last Temptation of Christ experience, where his Jesus film couldn’t get made in the early 80s. Agents promised him a “go”, everything was in place, and then time after time an unexpected development would threaten everything. In After Hours, each new person Paul meets promises that they will take care of him, make him happy, lend him money, give him a place to stay, let him use the phone, trust him with their keys, drive him home – and every offer of mercy turns into an unanticipated danger. The film could be read as an emotional autobiography of that period in Scorsese’s life.

One of Scorsese’s lesser known films. In my opinion this film doesn’t get enough credit. People always seem to talk about his other work. It’s not your typical Scorsese movie at all, very little violence or swearing, closer to The King of Comedy than his gangster movies. I’m glad De Niro didn’t appear, refreshing to see a relative unknown in the lead in Griffin Dunne.

Not a film everyone has heard of. It's now in my top 5 Scorsese movies along with Taxi Driver (1976), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and The King of Comedy (1982). Never been a fan of Scorsese's gangster stuff or any gangster movies for that matter. You may notice I haven't added gangster flicks or westerns on my A-Z of film recommendations on the blog, because I don't usually like them. An exception to the rule is The Sting (1973), which I enjoyed.

After Hours brought Scorsese the Best Director prize at Cannes, although its commercial success was modest.

Probably not a film I’ll be seeing many times, as the surprises are more effective first time around, but enjoyable to watch once or twice, I'd say. I’m not sure you can call it an independent film, but it certainly feels like an indie.

Have you seen it, what did you think of After Hours?

89% on RT and 7.6/10 on IMDB



Scorsese on Scorsese (2003)
Scorsese by Ebert (2008)
Making of

(Revised review)


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