After Hours (1985)

A delightful tale of a night gone wrong, much more overtly a comedy than Scorsese’s other works this offbeat. Griffin Dunne’s performance as Paul Hackett is so enjoyable, he anchors the male castration and eternal workplace drudgery fears of the film with a very likable everyman air. There’s a great vibe of paranoia and claustrophobia…

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)

A fantastic character study that feels completely full-formed and assured in what it achieves. Alice navigates a series of men that entrap her in their orbit a she grapples with her identity, sense of place in society, and sense of how to relate with men. It never veers into feeling like a soap opera or…

Boxcar Bertha (1972)

A film revolving around the labour movement during the Depression feels like it should have more soul than this, but it all feels thin and incoherent, more interested at gesturing at themes than really exploring much of anything beyond the titillation of this sort of exploitation-type filmmaking. It’s interesting seeing some of Scorsese’s techniques put…

Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967)

Scorsese’s first feature film, not as assured a declaration of style as MEAN STREETS, but very much a seminal statement on deformed masculinity, Catholic guilt, and other Scorsese pet themes. The selfish narrativisation, victim-blaming, Madonna-whore complex, all of it feels infuriatingly real psychologically, and the actors sell it all well – worth noting the film…

Mean Streets (1973)

A real codifier of Scorsese style and the ground level gangster movie subgenre, an enjoyable plotless exploration of mafia machismo, Catholic guilt, and tempestuous relations. The striking slow motion and red swathes play interestingly with the religious questions of the film, giving it all a kind of judgment vibe. This is carried on the back…

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Not all of the film has aged well, but the fundamental premise of unravelling stereotypes while exploring the fundamental relativity and shared pain of the teen experience still works well. The development of empathy between the five students is marred by putting them back into boxes at the end, with the romantic match-ups, and an…

In Bruges (2008)

A very writerly black comedy, one that methodically works through a number of very distinct acts, with each flipping and deepening understanding of the previous. Dialogue is the key ingredient here, and perhaps why the film is sometimes identified as Tarantino-esque (for my money, the pervasive religious aspect and unrushed moral rumination sets it apart…