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25th Hour is a eulogy, mourning the New York of post-September 11, 2001, and the regrettable life of one of the city's least reputable citizens. Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) isn't a bad guy--in fact he's a mensch, adopting a battered dog in the film's mood-setting opening scene, and leading a decent life with his girlfriend (Rosario Dawson)... when he's not dealing narcotics. Facing a seven-year prison term, Monty spends his last free night with pals (Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman) and visiting his understanding father (Brian Cox), while a Russian drug lord pressures him for getting busted. Lee directs this plotless, no-win scenario as the last gasp of a guy with nowhere to go, and the film (written by David Benioff, from his own novel) suffers from a similar loss of potential, lacking enough focus to make Monty's odyssey compelling. Instead, 25th Hour (which also costars Anna Paquin) rambles from scene to lazy scene, vaguely lamenting that lives have been wasted, some by terrorism, others by self-destruction. --Jeff Shannon
- Spike Lee's Near Perfect Hour
All of the things Lee is criticized and raked over the coals for is precisely what makes The 25th Hour such a masterful film.
When a director of obvious intellect develop his own highly personal and obvious style it bothers people. However, being bashed in the head isn't such a bad thing when it's done with such artistic expression and style. You have to want it, otherwise the "Leeisms" will become enough of an annoyance that one simply cannot enjoy the film. Park your prejudice and Lee frustrations at the door, however, and you're in for a noble, enlightening film that you cannot help being moved by.
I don't understand all the complaints about the "race rant" in the men's room. Some complain that it has nothing to do with the story - or it's poorly placed in the picture. I can't think of a better place for it and feel the scene is placed there to do exactly what it does (for those who get it): shock and disturb - a jolting dose of reality and Norton's delivery of this monologue is as pungent as a Shakespearean soliloquy. This was the first scene I felt the tears welling up in my eyes as I recognized myself - and everyone else in the world (yes, you over there).
The entire cast felt as though they'd been performing their roles onstage 8 shows a week, so perfect was the ensemble unity.
Lee touches on so many issues in the microcosm that is New York, but that microcosm becomes universal.
The penultimate scene is visionary, all dressed in white, and bathed in dreamlike light leading into the sobering reality of the finale. Lee makes the inevitable ending not only bearable, but believable and Norton's unusual protagonist becomes honorable.
A beautiful movie filled with hope. Glorious filmmaking by an American master....more info
- A Masterpiece
Well I'm coming late to the party since this film came out six years ago, but better late than never. Just caught this movie for the first time on cable tv and boy am I happy I decided to watch it. This was a "oh heck, let's give this movie a shot since nothing else is on" type of movie. What a terrible loss it would have been not to see it.
I don't use the term "masterpiece" loosely. As a matter of fact I can't remember the last movie I referred to a movie as a "masterpiece." If any film deserves that title it's 25th hour. Edward Norton has to be one of the best actors of our time. The rest of the cast is sensational as well. What a brutally honest, moving tribute to the resilience of New York City and the resilience of the human spirit to endure in the face of hardship and tragedy. It's also about how the choices we make in life affect so many people around us. This film reminds me very much of Before The Devil Knows Your Dead, an amazing film as well that deals with the choices life presents us and the consequence of those choices. Not coincidentally Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in that film as well along with Ethan Hawk. All tremendous actors in their own right.
Anyway, I could go on, but I've said what I needed to. For plot reviews, well you can get that from the other Amazon reviewers or from the Amazon synopsis. I just felt it would be criminal to see a film like 25th hour and not let a potential Amazon customer know how I feel about it. If you value incredible acting, fantastic writing, a well developed storyline, and extremely thought provoking messages in your movies, then by all means buy this movie. You'll get all of that and then some....more info
- Worst $5.00 I have ever spent
Movie jumps from scene to scene. Don't know whether you are watching the past, present. Boring. Don't waste your money renting this one....more info
- A Must-See
People who stay away from Spike Lee's movies because they are turned off by his off-screen commentaries are missing a lot, and every movie lovers should definitely check this one out if he/she has not already done so. Spike Lee is yet to make a bad movie, but this is quite possibly the most impressive. I disagree with another reviewer who wrote this movie made him/her feel sorry for a drug dealer. This movie does not ask you feel sympathy for the drug dealer or his circumstances; instead, it overwhelms you with the grief and despiration of a father who regrets having let his son lose his way. This is not only a technically superb movie but also a compelling human story. The last 10-minute or so part of this movie is the most beautiful and memorable sequence I have seen in years. This is a real gem....more info
- 25th Hour - An Urban Masterpiece
There are very few Caucasian actors who, in my view, can pull of street cool on the screen: George Clooney, a young Steven Seagal and Paul Walker. But this Ed Norton is unique, and he chooses scripts that tell an important story. He is, in my view, one of the finest young actors to come along since Sidney Portier.
He doesn't push it, but is laid back and lets the action come to him. Norton is having his last night out before heading to prison. His lovely lady (the seductive Rosario Dawson)loves him and so do his buddies. He wants to do the right thing, but like Al Pacino in "Godfather 3" they keep trying to "pull him back in." Although this movie is tight from beginning to end, it is the flashback at movie's end which endears you to the lead character. Norton knows how to use facial expressions to fill up entire scenes, and has the smarts to know when to pull back from a scene and let the environment do the talking.
Great movies are difficult to describe because they transcend words. This movie, in being as unique as it is, falls within that category. Rent it and watch it. You might learn something about yourself....more info
- Fabulous movie!!!!
Edward Norton is so good in this film. If you enjoy his movies, then I would get it. It is a must have....more info
- Rant Scene
After reading other opinions of what Norton's rant scene at his father's bar symbolized, I was compelled to share my perspective, since it is diametrically opposite. I don't think this scene is racially motivated or much of an introspection. I think that this is an individual that is venting his frustration on the city (and its inhabitants), his family, friends, and himself. Everything that he knows in life has become disdainful to him (including religion). This is a man that is staring at an abyss that constitutes seven years in a maximum security prison and is dealing with it in this scene by verbally lashing out.
Overall, I think that Norton's character was well developed, with the usual good performance one would expect from a quality actor. However, I would have liked to gained more insight to some of the supporting roles, especially his girlfriend (Dawson) and his two best friends (Hoffman and Pepper). The cinematography was quintessential Spike Lee, with some of his trademark shots (such as what is ostensibly a still shot of an individual with a fading background, indicating that this person is moving forward). If you are a Spike Lee fan (which I am) or interested in New York culture, you will find this movie enjoyable. Otherwise, you will probably find this film pedestrian.
- New York, New York....
Certainly one of Spike Lee`s best movies, "25th Hour" focuses the last day of freedom of a condemned drug dealer (Edward Norton). Facing an unpredictable yet decisive moment in his life, Monty decides to spend his last day with his girlfriend and closest friends, and manages to think about the path he is taking. Flowing at a slow, contemplative and low-key pace, this movie is a strong and compelling character study that focuses issues like friendship, love, trust, choices in a subtle, poignant and complex way. Lee`s direction is solid as always, and he even approaches the post-11/9 NY events in a memorable and fascinating manner, creating a somber, deep and captivating atmosphere. The acting is stellar, since it combines the talents of Rosario Dawson, Brian Cox, Philip Semour Hoffman, Barry Pepper and Anna Paquin. Add an excellent score (Terence Blanchard), ace photography (Rodrigo Prieto) and you`ve got one of the best movies of 2003. A thoughtful and enticing cinematic experience, "25th Hour" avoids easy sappiness and presents a mature and well-told story.
A keeper....more info
- 25th hour....
All the ranting in this movie make me sick, the F... word is the only thing you can hear but no substance to the story, the only part that deserve attention is at the end when Monty's dad gave him advice on how to carry on with his life after he is out jail.....I do not recomend this movie to anyone but I do respect the opinion of everybody else about this movie and I you like it or curious about it...go ahead...watch it...more info
- Nothing really happens
25th Hour has some enjoyable elements, and works in a special way. A man is sentenced to jail, and is allowed time on the outside to say goodbye. Naturally he reflects on what might have been, and also questions his friendships. I found the film had alot of hidden meanings, but it did lose some credibility with the freedom aspect. I dont know what it is like in America, but if you were sentenced to jail for being a drug dealer in Australia, you would be kept in custody beforehand for weeks.
I have to admit it was difficult to feel compassion for Norton since his character is that of a drug dealer. Perhaps if he was being sentenced for something different, it might have helped gain my compassion.
Worth seeing, even if it is rather depressing at times....more info
- two thumbs up
This movie about real people and real life.
It is NY as it is.
Edward Norton is THE BEST OF THE BEST.
Do not miss it....more info
- They should have called it Amnesia
Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) is supposed to be a lovable drug dealer with whom we can sympathize. In a series of flashbacks, we find out how he adopted his dog; how he met his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson); his long-standing friendships with Wall Streeter Frank (Barry Pepper) and Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman); oh, and by the way, how he got busted with mega-dealer quantities of smack and cash.
But the story's foundation, it's reason for being, is the tale of Monty's last day of freedom before reporting to prison. Grappling with issues like: who gave him up to the DEA and stressing about meeting the Russian mob boss who's demanded to see him before he leaves for the can. The trouble is, despite Spike Lee's best efforts and the talented Mr. Norton, we just don't care.
The story could have been compelling, but there are too many things that don't work. Barry Pepper is supposed to be Monty's best friend but is a completely hateful person. Philip Seymour Hoffman's considerable talents are put to no use here, playing a teacher that has all the charisma of a road sign. NFL'er Tony Siragusa (Kostya) is not a professional actor and is out of his depth. Rosaria Dawson is beautiful and talented -- but the story lets us not care about her whatsoever.
The best thing about the flick -- and truly, the only things worth watching -- are two solliloquies: Norton's R-rated rant on New York while facing himself in the mirror... and his Father's beautiful, fictionalized account of now Monty could escape his fate. Those two vignettes, occupying maybe five minutes of screen time total, made the movie for me.
In the end, it all just doesn't compute. I think they should have called this flick "Amnesia". You'll have forgotten the entire story by the next day....more info
- Great, great filmmaking
I realize from the outset that Spike Lee did not in fact write this film, but, this is easily his smartest and most watchable films since Mo' Better or School Daze (Do The Right Thing was too heavy handed IMHO). A true character study, this film is smart and doesnt pander, while allowing you, the viewer, to simply learn and enjoy on your own. Edward Norton, as usual, shines in his role, bringing a depth of feeling to the role that few could, while Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Papper add to the film by showing their own characters depth....but not detracting from the main story. If you're looking for a smart film, that tries to be more than an network TV series with curse words and sex...and succeeds, then you cant go wrong with this film.
- just average
Spike Lee is one of the Most Creative Directors in the Business but more often than not He gets Cluttered with so many ideas&then loses steam with alot of His Films.He has a tendecy to add a few to many story lines without fully dealing with the Main One.Edward Norton does a Decent Job here but He gets Bogged down here in this film.this Film had some good ideas but after a while you are trying to remember who&waht is going on.this should have been a Knock Out film as to Being a Film that just has alot of ideas but very litle Proper Direction....more info
- Excellent film with excellent performances
I have to admit to never having seen any Spike Lee film before but if this film is anything to go by I will be certainly catching up. The film is set in a very short space of time and it wraps you up in the plot and makes you feel sorry for someone who ultimately dealt drugs. The cast is amazing and very realistic I thought. I usually get a bit impatient with long films but I didn't even notice it, until later, that the film was over 2 hours....more info
- Surprisingly Good!
Hmmm! This one caught me by surprise. It's an un-Spike Lee-esque joint. His usual cast of characters (Denzel Washington, Giancarlo Esposito, John Turturro, etc) are nowhere to be found. No moving sidewalks that I can remember. No pumping hip-hop soundtrack.
Having said that ...
This was a very good movie! There is no real plot but that's not a problem. Spike likes his movies to be character driven (a la Do the Right Thing) and this flick certainly fits the bill. Edward Norton is extremely compelling as Montgomery Brogan, a drug dealer who has been outed as such and is now spending his final day of freedom looking back on his life and the mistakes he's made.
Since there is no plot I don't want to give any of the movie away, but I must say there are very strong supporting performances by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Berry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Brian Cox, and former NFL superstar Tony Siragusa who is almost unrecognizable via a thick and believable Russian accent. If I could have given the movie 4.5 stars I would have. Monty's rescuing of and eventual relationship with his pet dog Doyle would be the 1/2 star added - very touching.
I hate heavy-laden cursing in movies, but in an exception be sure to look for Monty's solilloquy (sp) regarding who he blames for life's miseries - and then who he ultimately blames. ...more info
- worth the buy
If you're an Ed Norton fan, this is a must-see for you! My favorite scene is the bathroom mirror monologue (only he could have nailed that scene so perfectly). I'm not a Spike Lee fan, but this was definitely an improvement for him. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper were perfectly cast for their roles and Rosario Dawson did a superb job as supporting actress. I was disappointed that Brian Cox didn't have a bigger role, but he played the father part well as usual. There are a lot of underlying issues in the film that you are caught during a second viewing. Overall, great movie. If nothing else, watch it to see Ed Norton in a "riverting" performance....more info
- My Favorite Joint So Far
Other reviewers have done a fine job of describing the major plot points and the pros and cons of this film. I myself had some trouble with it for the first 15 minutes, it seemed to ramble, but I stayed with it because I admire Spike Lee's work. I was also mesmerized by Terence Blanchard's score. And it proved to be worth the hang. First consider that it was adapted from a pre-9/11 novel that is New York City to its core. Then consider that it's set in a post-9/11 New York City. Finally, consider that Benioff took his original story and adapted it to post-9/11 and then look beneath the surface of the story for the real story that is actually being told from this framework. (The song over the closing credits should make it clear to the viewer, if it wasn't already.) Benioff has written some sequences that made me hold my breath - the man is one of the best writers and slam poets out there. The cinematography is all New York, both gritty and gorgeous, light and more light, and the key characters are all well-defined. Edward Norton gives an underrated award-winning performance, and Brian Cox's supporting work was just as good. Then Spike Lee takes all of this, with his some very good editors, and makes this joint unforgettable. In 25 years, this movie will be regarded as a 9/11-era classic, and one of the finest memorials to a wounded and healing city that any movie director could make. And, yes, go back and look at the rambling beginning and some of the other slower-paced portions of the film on a second screening, as I did, and you, too, will probably understand that they are actually there for a very good reason.
I love Spike Lee's Joints, and this is my favorite so far. Don't expect an escapist good time, this is a thinking film, but, if you're a movie buff like me, it will make you think and feel things about New York and 9/11 that you maybe didn't realize you thought or felt. Highly recommended. Thank you Spike!...more info
- The best acting (and movie moments) to come in a while...
Most anyone who watches movies will know that Edward Norton is one of the top actors in the business today. Mr. Norton seems to out-do even himself in this wonderful movie. I shall refrain from rehashing the story behind this film since it has been done so many times elsewhere. This is more of a rebuttal for items written in other reviews. 1) The mirror in the restroom scene: Yes, Monty (Norton) is staring at his reflection in the mirror while his reflection speaks to him "f*** this ethnic group, f*** those people;" etc, etc...emphasizing how many others he could try to place the blame on. The point is, he says back to his reflection "No, f*** you." This scene has absolutely nothing to do with racism. This is a beautiful scene because it shows us that he IS a good guy and is blaming himself (and not others) for his actions. 2) The fight scene with his best friend: Earlier in the night he makes his friend promise to do one last thing for him without telling him what it is. Monty wants him to beat his face so he doesn't look so attractive to the guys he's going to meet in prison. In the end, his friend backs out and Monty ends up having to provoke him. One of the most incredible scenes I have ever scene in my life. 3) On a personal note to one of the earlier reviewers who says that Monty should blame the cops and not himself for being locked away...they're just doing their job. No one was making him sell drugs. He made the decision for himself and he rightfully took the blame for being locked away. ...more info
- The Movie Oscar Forgot
-It's hard for me to make a list of things I'd do if I had less than a day to celebrate my freedom but spending those moments with your loved ones isn't half bad. Monty's last day isn't a celebratory one though since he pretty much spends the bulk of his day making amends to people he's wronged including his dad who he doesn't see too much off and his lovely girlfriend whom he suspects of being the reason why he's in his recent predicament. The movie isn't all about Monty though since we do get to spend a lot of time with his two best friends who are very different. The teacher played by Hoffman has very strong feelings for one of his students and deals with that problem face on during the club scene. The Wall Street friend played by Pepper is the brash hot headed young man that has a thing for Norton's girl and he also deals with that problem in his own unique way in the club scene as well. If memory serves me right I believe that club scene is where a lot of the problems in the movie get worked out from Monty finding out who pinched him to Jacob dealing with his feelings for his young student
-Beniof said he got the inspiration for the story after he heard about two brothers that decided to cut up their faces before they went to jail in order to look ugly so they don't get raped. There is a similar scene like that in this movie and needless to say it is one of the best scenes in the movie or even better yet one of the best scenes to ever hit the silver screen. In that one great scene all the bottled up feeling the friends have towards each other comes out and they finally say to each other what the other has always wanted to say which ends up provoking Pepper to in fact make Norton ugly. It's a very powerful scene in the movie and I really love the decision to pull out the sound of Pepper crying because it does make the scene a lot better. Great moments like that are spread throughout the movie and I think the other noticeably great scene is the "f**k montage" which is Norton pretty much going off on every ethnic and high class person in NY. The reason why that hateful scene works so well is that in the end he turns the table on himself and curses himself out for severely screwing up. Plus the scene at the end when the varied ethnic groups smile at him is also a nice way of letting the audiences know that he's taken back all those mean stuff he said.
-When Monty is being driven to jail towards the end of the movie there's this little haunting monologue by Brian Cox in which he explains how Monty's life would be like if he didn't go to jail and that's one scene in the movie where everything comes to together beautifully. The cinematography has this dream quality to it that makes everything look poetic and Brian Cox' voice narrates the whole sequence whiles being accompanied by a great piece by Terrence Blanchard. That great low key stuff he writes is the highlight of that scene because as great as the narration by Cox is and as beautiful as the cinematography is in the end it all comes down to the music which really shines here. The music he plays for the "f**k montage" is a great one too and in keeping with tradition with that Copeland style it is very removed from what you'd expect. With it being such an angry scene you'd expect the music to be the same but instead he goes for the smooth jazz approach which makes the scene more powerful than if he had gone with some loud horns and guitars. Blanchard is a great treasure to the film music world and I hope someday more people join me in giving him the praise he deserves.
-Of Monty's entire friends the one that sticks out and has the most memorable lines is Barry Pepper. He is the most honest of the bunch and asks questions that we all want to ask but are too chicken to like why women cry after having great sex. He's that friend you have who will go and grab a girl's bum if you dared him to do and we all know friends like that are the best to have around. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is great as the whiny friend that has his own little demons to conquer. Hoffman plays the shy introvert type very nicely and whiles he's not a scene stealer like Pepper he's still pretty good in the movie. Norton himself does a great job as Monty and he along with Pepper were two people I felt were greatly snubbed by the academy. The "f**k montage" alone should have given him a nod. Rosario Dawson and Mentalcritic's favorite Anna Paquin are great in the movie but there are not enough scenes with them to really stand out but it was still nice to see the two gorgeous women on the screen. Another person that should have gotten a nod was Lee for making this great movie. I know he's not the most popular filmmaker in the world but the man is one of the best and I strongly believe that he along with Norton, Pepper, and Blanchard should have received a nod.
-If you hate Spike Lee then you will hate this movie I guess for those of us with an open mind this should provide for some amazing movie moments...more info
- Thought provoking movie (but checkout the book)
The 25th Hour (DVD)
While much focus under reviews of the movie has been on Spike Lee's involvement in the film of the book and use of the post 11/9 setting, this in large part overlooks that the movie started with the great asset of a well written novel with a unique and timely story. In addition the using of the author David Beniofff to also write the screenplay seems to have ensured that much of the book's strengths were not lost in the transition to the screen.
Despite the few sops made from the book to Hollywood story lines (an over emphasis on did the girlfriend betray the lead character now destined for 7 years in jail and the resultant conversion of the ending), there is much to admire in the movie especially in tracking the story mix of the course of the lead actor Ed Norton's last day of freedom and the flashbacks needed to explain why matters have turned out as they have.
While the film's main emphasis is inevitably on Norton, what is more interesting is how he pales (relatively) against the ensemble of other support roles from the spot on Wall Street financial trader aggression of Barry Pepper; the adrift personna of introverted academic Philip Seymour Hoffman; the confused Puerto Rican girlfriend of Rosario Dawson and the pained widowed father of Brian Cox. The film makes great use of long set up fixed shots where the book's core themes of friendships and personal loyalties under pressure are endlesssly explored, with most dramatic effect in two scenes from an apartment overlooking the cleared World Trade Centre site and in a bar scene before the party moves on to a dance club.
While Spike Lee deserves full credit for evoking the NY story and setting, this is definitely a production that is the sum of its many great parts (and the audio commentary from Lee and Benioff included as a DVD extra reconfirms this)....more info
- What a movie!
Shortly: 25th hour hit me. It is a beautiful, dark but same time hopeful drama. Terence Blanchard's music makes it even better. Though in the end of the movie there is a scene that makes me cry - even after seeing it five times the movie gives me sense of good feeling and surely a lots of thinking... I recommend this movie everybody but for any person who hear beats a beat of Manhattan - this movie is must....more info
- Haunting and beautifully filmed - but is it all it seems?
As 'A Spike Lee Joint,' 25th hour is part of the ongoing Lee paradigm, filled with his typical style, directorial vigour, and cinematic gloss. A flowing, feature length music video, containing a story that is coherent, topical and, above all, strongly analytical in its approach to the characters, 25th Hour is the story of mid level drug dealer (Monty Brogan - Ed Norton) whom, on his last day before being incarcerated for his illicit trade, must make peace with his family and friends, answer to his Red Mafiya/Vory v zakone suppliers, say farewell to the city he so obviously loves and, ultimately, accept that he is now in receipt of justified dues.
With a post 9/11 setting in NYC, the script deviates from the book (which was written pre-9/11) only slightly in order to encompass the destruction, yet the atmosphere is set with the opening credits and a slice of dialogue during the first quarter (followed by some beautifully filmed cutaways of a sodium lit night-time clean-up crew, working in Ground Zero) which leaves the audience with no alternative but to associate the main characters' desperate tableau with plight of the city in the aftermath of tragedy. Lee - love him or loathe him for it - is known for his preaching and, right or wrong, seems to be suggesting that perhaps the terrible events of 9/11 have some twisted, if unjustified, reason. Lee later strongly denied this was his intention, in an enigmatic yet vague interview, and if he's criticised for it, has only himself to blame.
This could perhaps beg the question: What was so bad about how Monty made his living to warrant the end of his life (in effect) in the 25th Hour?
This is a question answered before it's asked, with the first scene after the opening credits showing an exchange between Monty and a dishevelled wreck of a man who is quite clearly one of his customers. It's further reinforced in a later flashback to Monty's earlier days as a dealer when the same man approaches Monty dressed in business attire. The destruction of others for personal gain is something that will not - and quite rightly so - go unchallenged.
Relying somewhat on symbolism and hidden meanings, there are a number of subtexts, as well as ample opportunities to read into the narrative more than is intended, but the overall message is clear: culpability is in the hands of the bearer, and with his last 24 hours of freedom sifting away and the eponymous 25th Hour quickly approaching Monty must see that blame can only lie with himself.
25th Hour's greatest achievement is in relaying a subtle, but highly relevant parable in a manner of storytelling that is both enjoyable and compelling. Very few words are wasted and the dialogue remains taught and muscular throughout. The editing, acting, score, direction and cinematography are all of the very highest standard. Whether or not you agree Lee's intention was to illustrate a larger picture - that maybe The US was in receipt of ineluctable retribution - is another story. ...more info
- Came in with High Expectations.
Maybe I came in with to high of expectations? I don't know, but I did not find this movie enjoyable at all. Some people might say that I didn't get all of the hidden meanings and innuendoes. I did pick up on everything and still found myself thinking 'So what, get on with the movie already!'.
With a great cast of actors and people telling me how great this movie was, I think I just came in expecting to much. I was very disappointed......more info
- Great Idea Awful filmmaking
I expected so much more from this movie considering the actors involved. The actors did a great job, but this film fell way short with story telling and flashbacks. There were too many flash blacks and they came at you in the wrong order.
I also hated the "multiple cuts" in the film that showed different angles of the same scene. These cuts didn't appear to be spliced together properly. It was simply aggravating. I am not aware of the proper technical terms for "multiple cuts" nor the "mirror image" mentioned below (sorry).
The way films were scened were also annoying. The scene at the brokerage firm had a "mirror image" of some characters talking to Barry Pepper's role. It took away from the scene. I am not sure why that "mirroring" was there since there wasn't a glass partition there.
Interesting scenes: Barry Pepper at the firm, Norton and his dad in the car, and Norton looking in the mirror with his character lambasting everyone
The way the film was presented, I thought a high school student put this together. Again, the acting was very good. The story had a good premise and interesting characters, but the execution was lacking.
This film was in need of focus and direction....more info
- This IS the best movie I have ever seen, and I've seen a few
25th Hour... A lot of people have already posted reviews of this movie. Some loved it, some hated it. I am in the first category- although it is dark, tense and slow-paced, 25th Hour riveted me from the first scene, where Monty Brogan rescues the abused dog.
I love Edward Norton. Not only is he an incredibly talented actor, but I find his looks very appealing. He's not a pretty boy or a hunk, yet he has major appeal, and yes, he has definitely got a nice build. But most importantly, he has a way of using facial expressions that is irresistable. Fight Club was a great movie, and he is a great actor, but this has to be his finest work to date. I bought 25th Hour because he stars in it, and I loved it because he made the movie. It was well directed in my opinion, and the supporting cast were wonderful, but if it had starred anyone else, 25th Hour would likely have been something not worth watching. Even a well directed film with a great supporting cast can fail if the lead is miscast. In this case, casting was spot-on.
Edward Norton IS Monty Brogan for 25th Hour.
If for just a few scenes, this movie would be worth watching- Monty's f*ck-you rant to the mirror in the bathroom of his father's bar, the scene where his apartment is searched by the DEA, the interrogation scene, the scene between Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) and Francis (Barry Pepper), the 'make me ugly scene'- these scenes could have made a mediocre movie great. But the movie was already great- these scenes made it unforgettable. I watch it once, and as the end credits roll I immediately want to watch it again. That is what denotes a great movie- I'll never tire of 25th Hour. And on top of everything else this movie has the all time BEST pick-up scene- the 18 year old Catholic school girl-looking Naturelle meets for the first time that cute older Irish guy, Monty Brogan.
I think Rosario Dawson was underrated in this film- she comes across to me as a caring girlfriend, and she proves herself as a GREAT actress when she portrays the younger Naturelle- that WAS an 18 year old girl we were seeing. Plus her scene at the club with Barry Pepper is really great.
I bought 25th Hour sight unseen because Edward Norton was in it, and ended up getting the best movie I've yet seen. I intend to buy the DVD as soon as I can. Buy this film. Don't listen to those who will try to discredit it, it is a great movie and a wonderful vehicle for the acting talents of our Edward Norton.
- So very excellent
I am not a big Spike Lee fan. To tell you the truth, I've never seen one of his movies besides this one. And I didn't even know he made this...all I did was rent it for Edward Norton, one of the best actors of the decade. Well, Spike Lee did a very nice job in this movie. 5 star worthy..maybe..but the effort is there to boost it.
The cast is definitely a positive sign in this movie with Edward Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing their roles perfectly.
The movie's about Monty, a guy living in New York with a beautiful girlfriend, nice friends and a sweet dog. The opening sequence shows Monty saving this dog's life in a touching moment. But Monty also sells drugs. He makes money off it but lately has been stopping. One thing that I trully appreciate about this movie is that there is no drug usage whatsoever. Nada! It's all about that but unlike most movies, this movie only shows what's necessary and that is something very rare and I trully appreciate it.
Monty is caught though and is sentenced to 7 years in prison. He basically lives out his last 25 hours for a long time as a free man. The audience is one of his friends too..we follow him around town as he is about to be caged up. It's a very sad movie and very powerful movie. The part where he talks to himself in the mirror is one of the most powerful sequences that I have ever seen.
Everyone plays their role perfectly and the realism of the movie is stunning. The visuals are perfect and the story development is continuous. The ending is touching and this movie remains as one of the most powerful of the last 20 or so years.
It's a movie that everyone should see because it has an inner message and is a wonderful critique of our society.
Edward Norton once again takes a rough role and is stunning. He trully is one of the best actors to watch.
25th hour is a success...a powerful, geniously conceived movie that is one tough but true 2 hours. ...more info
- What was this film about ?
I understand the film tries to portray the fact that many people in their everday life commit crimes. Also I guess the movie came after sept 11 so it makes a reference to ground zero. There is a section where Edward Norton rants against the system, against the asians, sikhs, arabs and whites. Throught out the film I was trying to make sense of where the movie was heading. Dont get me wrong it was a very different movie and did not try to do the same thing as the steorotypical hollywood film but still the disperate story threads which did not have much connection to one other kind of threw me off. Edward Norton plays the drug peddler who gets caught with illegal cash, mops over it and then intends to party with this very close friends and enjoy his last night before going to jail. Phillip Seymore plays one of the friends who is a school teacher who has a crush on his 17 year student. The other friend is a risky stock gambler on wall street. Edward Norton suspects his girl friend of blowing the whistle on him, spends time with his friends as they bring out the skeletons in their cupboard, asks his friends to rough him up so that he does not look too neat when he enters prison, and then gets an offer from his dad to become a volunatry fugitive and lead a new life. At the ends I did not quite get what the film added upto and what Spike Lee is trying to convey in this story. There are seperate story lines which portray the immoral acts of some of the characters. Sure it talks of mistrust, suspiciouns and our own personal immoral crimes. But it doesn't compare to selling drugs, that can't be condoned. And so what was this film about. What was the message...?
regards, Vikram...more info
- 25th Hour - don't waste your time
I guess I'm in the minority here - but I really didn't care for this movie. The irony was pretty striking...in parts of the movie, you are reminded of the post 9-11 climate and the sacrifices others have made for our freedom. Then you have a lead character like Monty that is completely unlikeable and undeserving of the breaks he has received. It was hard to feel any empathy for him (even saving the dog wasn't enough for me). Here is somebody who has made poor choices and is now getting punished for it. But what does the movie do? 99% of the supporting characters feel sorry for Monty and whine about how it isn't right that he is going away. He never acknowledges what he did was wrong, he seems to feel bad that he got caught, that's all.
To me, it looks like Spike Lee wanted to support his hometown after 9-11 and rushed this movie into production. Even though the parts were well acted by all, they were still unrealistic, unlikeable characters with a fragmented, slow plot. I enjoyed Lee's films "Do the Right Thing" and "Bamboozled" much more. ...more info
- 25th Hour
It was a great movie that exceeded my expectations. Greatly written, although a little overdramatic at times. Nevertheless, Spike Lee enabled you to go inside the mind of the characters, the choices that were made and the consequences of their actions. It explored human nature in its simplicity and complexity. It is a movie that I would watch again and analyze. It also played tribute to New York City. It is a very refreshing movie compared to what is out in the theaters, with great actors and great direction. There is a reason why Edward Norton picked this movie - because it is a great movie. However, if you are interested in mindless action or trite comedies, it is not for you....more info
I'm NOT a fan of Spike Lee at all and had I known this was one of his movies, I NEVER would have rented it. However, I now take that back because this movie is amazing. I've had this movie on my "list" for years and finally got around to renting it. Not to ruin it but the best scene of the entire movie, and that moved me to tears, is a key moment between Ed Norton and Barry Pepper towards the end. Barry Pepper does an absolutley amazing job in this movie. I think Ed Norton is a superb actor but I didn't think he was right for this role. But his dad was great, that was another touching story line. And the dog, as an animal lover, that got me too. Highly recommend this movie....more info
- Criminals are always playing spin the bottle and sooner or later it is going to point to the ugly.
One of the many things that make 25th hour such a special film to me is how Benioff and Lee didn't attempt to cram too many events into this plot. This film does take place in just one day, and it's a perfect snapshot of the lead protagonist Monty Brogan's thoughts and actions in that final day before he begins a 7 year jail sentence for dealing heroin, expertly put together by David Benioff and Spike Lee. We see Brogan (superbly played by Edward Norton) walking his dog, talking to his girlfriend, having a meal with his father, going out to a club with his friends, preparing to go to jail and being driven there. It's not over the top, it isn't brash, but it does do what is necessary.
Brogan is clearly worried and regretful. This is faultlessly portrayed by the mirror scene, in which he rants incessantly about the variety of people populating New York, and then realizes that he only has himself to blame for the situation he is in. It's such a human moment, since how many people can honestly say that they have never chosen to blame others, and take their anger out in a vicious way, even if it is just personal thoughts? But it isn't just Monty who feels regret, virtually every other character we focus on does, Monty's father is weighed down by his former alcoholism, and he partly holds himself responsible for Monty's fate. And so do Monty's friends, not preventing him from his choice to deal drugs.
Monty Brogan is not really shown in a 'good' or 'bad' light. Norton plays him as a normal person. He's easy to relate to, and it's a reminder of how anyone can turn out depending on what choices they make. His choice of drug dealing is looked down upon, the interrogators ridicule him, but that is only in the context of drug dealing, not as a normal person. Benioff and Lee were keen to show his actions like this.
The film is skillfully made, from the very tasteful opening credit scene acknowledging 9/11 (another honest feature about the film, which is an important theme throughout), where we see the lights at ground zero dropping from the sky, to the fantasy scene with Monty and his father in the car near the end, where they think about the family he could have had, all surreally dressed in while. Terence Blanchard's score too is one of the most beautiful I've heard in a recent film along with Michael Andrews score for Donnie Darko - The Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition). The film tells it like it is. It's about decision making, it's about responsibility and it's about real friendship. It's realistic on an emotional level and is now one of my favorite Spike Lee Joints.
- Lo-Keyed Anti-Drug Saga-Slash-New York Drama...
...Spike Lee's directorial restraint should be heralded, because instead of bloating the text of the movie with un resolved issues, he presented a nice decent story with a more or less straight forward presentation. Rosario Dawson as Naturelle gives an stellar performance as well as Brian Cox as Monty's (Edward Norton) father. The last 20-30 minutes of the film is great cinema that 'will' make you choke a bit. Edward Norton also redeems himself from "Death to Smoochy". See it and enjoy. ...more info
- Way at the front of Spike's films.
Not his absolute best, but real close. 25th hour drops any preaching and politics (OK, maybe a little, but it's done in an attention-getting way) and just tells a story. Norton and Pepper are superb, Hoffman and Dawson great and everyone else very good as well. No real plot? Maybe, but it's riveting just the same. Worth checking out more than once!...more info
- Not great, but pretty likeable
Spike Lee sensitively directs the tale of likeable Monty Brogan's last day as a free man. To be brief the film worked for me, even though some of the 9/11 stuff at times seemed to interlope on what was basically the story of one man's "rise and fall and rise again". That said, Norton was in fine form, as was Rosario Dawson. Not exactly new frontiers for Norton though. Blanchard's score though interesting lacked the thunder of earlier work with Lee while still seeming to be a bit over the top. A less upbeat ending might have made for a stronger film, but American audiences'propensity for the feel good factor would probably result in less appeal for the film at the box office. Pretty damn likeable, but not a great film. That would be "Summer of Sam" which seems to work on every level. But that's a another review.........more info
- The fleeting freedom of Monty Brogan
Kudos to Spike Lee whose deft directorial touch and aided by stellar acting performances created a poignant ode to a criminal Monty Brogan possessed with a large measure of sensitivity. Brogan played by the intensely talented Edward Norton is a drug dealer caught by the feds with a major stash and sentenced to seven years of prison.
"25th Hour" chronicles Monty's last day of freedom before he must surrender to start serving his sentence. Accompanied by his best friends Frank played by Barry Pepper and Jacob played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and his gorgeous and caring girlfriend Naturelle played by the alluring Rosario Dawson, they spend one last night together. Norton is forced to re-examine his life through his friendship and relationships. He must relinquish the privileges that his illicit lifestyle had afforded him. He reconnects with his father played by Brian Cox, who although distant throughout Monty's life demonstrates his love for his son.
Norton and Hoffman, whose reputations have already been firmly established, did not disappoint with their portrayals. Barry Pepper, however was especially terrific in his role as Frank Slaughtery, a Wall Street trading cowboy with close brotherly bonds to his long time friend Monty. Tony Siragusa playing Monty's bodyguard Kostya, with a ridiculous Russian accent should stick to his day job, football.
Spike Lee concludes his film with a really brilliant ending that leaves you wondering....more info
- Flawless film that will haunt your dreams...
Spike Lee masterfully delivers to us `25th Hour', a film so rich with character development and emotion that we are drawn in to each passing frame. In fact I can't say that Lee has ever been this graceful, this articulate or this brilliant before. If any film should have landed him an Oscar it would have to be this film, but sadly `25th Hour' was utterly ignored by Oscar, which is a shame since it truly is one of the best films of the given year. `25th Hour' is such a richly fulfilled film, a feature so complete in every category that it's hard to believe it was snubbed so extremely. From the script to the actors to the masterful direction `25th Hour' is in a word `flawless'.
The story revolves around drug dealer Monty Brogan who was just busted and sentenced to 8 years in prison. On his last night of freedom he purposes to find the person that set him up, the person who called in that anonymous tip that started his spiral of bad luck.
Was it his best friend Frank?
Was it his shy and reclusive friend Jacob?
Was it his beautiful girlfriend Naturelle?
While the film revolves around one night, the said night is so full of rich development that we are never bored, never stagnant and never rushed. The night beautifully captures the feeling of panic, the feeling of impending disaster but never lets loose of his relaxed pace and delivery. The lighting, the mood, the atmosphere is all magnificently captured by Spike Lee and company.
And what an impressive company he has. Edward Norton; one of the greatest working actors, is utterly amazing here. Yet another Oscar caliber performance (how is it that he is nominated for everything he does?). As Monty he fleshes out the very soul of this man, the rough exterior that melts away to reveal the vulnerable and frail fear within his heart. You have two aspects to this man and he breathes life to each side. You have his breathtaking monologue in the mirror and his heartbreaking final scene with co-star Barry Pepper. Speaking of Pepper, he nails his performance as Frank; the aggressive arrogance and almost snooty air that only masks his apparent loyalty and devotion. Philip Seymour Hoffman has always been a great supporting player but this is one of his finest performances in my opinion. It's not as showy as his more recent and beloved work and I think that plays to his interests here. He is reserved and subtle and thus endearing and memorable. His scene with Anna Paquin at the club is devastatingly real. Anna Paquin is also effortlessly captivating here as Mary, the flirtatious student for whom Jacob pines. Rosario Dawson and Brian Cox are also great here, not as standout as the four I've mentioned but definitely not lacking in any area.
Spike Lee though is the star of this film. Taking Benioff's script (which he adapted from his novel of the same name) and turning it loose on us in such a visually stimulating form Spike was able to pulverize me with one of the most effortlessly mesmerizing films I've seen in a long time.
Sure it's just one night, but it's one night you'll never forget....more info
As ever Edward Norton is superb in this excellent film of friendship and redemption that ultimately asks the question, What is Justice?...more info
- Spike Lee shouldn't ever direct movies
I just can't believe how bad of a director this guy is. Someone needs to sit him down and have a little conversation with him as to what it takes to direct a movie, and then explain to him why it's only now he's being told this.
Why does Spike Lee still not understand the concept of pacing in a movie? How can he not know this? He's been making movies for quite awhile now, how can something so fundamental still escape him? WTF! The least you can expect from a movie is to not want to cause violence towards the director after seeing it, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like that.
The script itself is fine, and in the hands of a competent director, probably would've been an above average movie, if not great. But since this was made by Spike Lee, of course the movie plods along like a snail taking a sight-seeing tour in the grass, and you wanna just smash him over the head and tell him to move it already. The thread of the story is not crisp or focused, it just so happens to have Edward Norton in the scenes, but there's no other connecting factor. As an example, someone please tell me the purpose of the teacher and his little deal with Anna Paquin and her annoying character. Why even introduce that into the story if you're not GOING ANYWHERE WITH IT! Spike Lee's the master of the unfinished subplot!
This movie has very bad pacing, as there's no point or sense of purpose to the story they're trying to tell you. I can't compare this with movies with bad story lines (which this doesn't have actually), because at least in those cases, the movie moved along and made progress, had an agenda, and accomplished it, 1,2,3. This movie just kinda stopped at 1 and hung around until the credits were rolling.
Spike needs to just stop it already, he's not good at this. His movies make me want to punch him....more info
- Not uplifting in the least
A sad, somber, comtemplative film about wasted lives and the end of life as we know it, set against the backdrop of post 9/11 New York City. There isn't that much of a plot, because the ending has already been established - Monty Brogan (Norton) has been convicted of dealing dope and is going to prison for 7 years. Nothing will change that, not even discovering who ratted him out. He spends his last night of freedom with his two best buddies - Jakob, an ineffectual English teacher (Hoffman) who's struggling with desire for one of his students, and Frank (Pepper), a cocky bond trader who's a ticking timebomb.
The film is right on the money in its exploration of powerlessness. A pair of soliloquys express the dual nature of this feeling - 1) Monty's foul-mouthed rant, while looking in a mirror, against pretty much everyone in New York and, ultimately, himself, and 2) Monty's father (Cox) daydreaming about how easy it would be for Monty to escape and begin a new life. Monty's chums, meanwhile, question their own roles in letting their friend go down the wrong path in life - and their own life paths aren't much wiser. The confusion and frustration never ceases, which is why the characters make conflicting statements, and yet they aren't being duplicitous. The characters aren't sure what to feel, what to do, or what to say to their convicted felon of a friend.
25th Hour is some of Spike Lee's best work - smoothly filmed, deliberately paced, seamless in it's transitions from past to present, and the bursts of anger, violence, and pure emotion in the film nearly leap off the screen. Good performances all around, particularly Norton's Monty - a good-spirited guy who's going down nonetheless - and Hoffman's pathetic Jakob. And Terrence Blanchard's score is as good as any I've heard in a film in years. How he didn't get any attention at Oscar time is beyond me.
There is no redemption for the characters in this film, only some release of anxieties and a gripping, pervasive sense of loss. I was stunned at how sad this film made me feel....more info
- Lee and Benioff Make Neo Noir Classic
Spike Lee's film of Michael Benioff's novel 25th Hour is one of the strongest of the neo-noir films of the last few years, and one of the few films to address the corruption of dealing drugs and the breakdown of culture symbolized by the WTC site. Edward Norton plays Montgomery Brogan, a heroin dealer who must report to the Otisville Federal Prison in the morning. Monty's life until this point has been a dream; he lives with a beautiful woman, drives a cool car, and gets into all the clubs, but financing this life is heroin and the Russian Mafia.
Edward Norton gives a typical strong performance - I'd love to see him and Johnny Depp in a film - making Monty a rich character who understands his own self-delusions. Barry Pepper and the ever wonderful Phillip Hoffman play Monty's more conventional friends, Slattery and Alinsky, the former a Wall-Street cowboy, and the latter a repressed English teacher in love with one of his students. Rosanna Dawson plays Monty's woman with understated power and sorrow.
Monty's final day of freedom plays out in clubs, parks, bars, and his memories, which Spike Lee weaves seamlessly in and out of the narrative, sparing us a moralistic explanation for Monty, a nice boy, ending up becoming a drug dealer, but showing us instead the parts of Monty's life that mean something to him: finding an abused pit bull, meeting Naturale, getting busted and interrogated by arrogant DEA agents.
The rant that Monty gives to his reflection is right out of David Benioff's book, nearly word-for-word, so stop blaming Spike Lee, and besides it's a great set piece, expressing Monty's self-loathing at the city which will go on despite him. Lee follows up this tour-de-force with all the people Monty cursed waving good-bye to him as he leaves New York, one of the most wonderful cinematic poems I've seen.
Monty is himself the City, broken, confused, and angry; beautiful, Monty wants to make himself ugly to protect himself from gang rape in prison, and he calls on his friends Slattery and Alinsky to beat him, horrifying them both.
Again, the flight of fantasy at the end of the film is right out of Benioff's book and not something Spike Lee made up, although Lee often extends the ends of his films (see Mo' Better Blues and Clockers), so Benioff's novel was right in keeping with Lee's style.
This is one of Spike Lee's best films, and it was totally disregarded at the box office, probably people want to pigeonhole Lee. But like all great artists, Spike Lee can transcend himself. I believe 25th Hour will be remembered as a great American film in the years to come.
Note: I would recommend you read David Benioff's novel, but the film is taken right from the book with few amendations, and those small changes - emphasizing 9/11, making Monty's father a fireman - improve Benioff's book.
Very well acted and well shot. Nothing happens. You keep waiting for something interesting, but it never comes along. Besides which, it has this confusing conceit of a man who's been sentenced to jail, but then he gets some time on the outside to say goodbye to people and possibly escape if he wants. It may be that this does happen in the criminal justice system, but it flies so counter to what i'm used to (you get convicted, you go straight to jail) that it just made it hard to take in. Save your money. there are so many better movies with the same people (Lee, Norton, Hoffman, Paquin...)...more info
This resonated and awakened within, held me hostage and didn't let me go until the very end. Poignant, warm, serious, absorbing, plus the eye popping visual shots Spike Lee brings to the screen, simply put, was brilliant...absolutely brilliant! Ed Norton, is certainly spectacular...very much enjoyed because this is one movie, I couldn't figure out right to the end. Loved it!!!...more info
- One night has never looked so sweet...
`25th Hour' is truly one of the greatest films to surface in 2002, a year that up until this week I rendered as the year the movies died. That's for another discussion, maybe I'll make a "So you'd like to know" list to discuss that one. Anyways, having just seen this film I am still on a high sort-of-speak, still reeling off of the energy produced with each passing frame. Supported strongly by powerful performances by the entire cast, `25th Hour' delivers a unique premise and a thought provoking script glossed up nicely by Spike Lee's brilliant direction.
The brilliant Edward Norton delivers yet another award worthy performance as drug dealer Monty Brogan. Monty has just hit a strode of bad luck for a tip to the police has landed him an eight year stint in prison, and now, on his last night of freedom he endeavors to find the one responsible. Among the few he suspects is his stunning girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson), one of the only people who knew where he hid his drugs. At his aid are his best friend's Frank (Barry Pepper) and teacher Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who is battling his own demons as he pines over his underage student Mary (Anna Paquin).
Its one night, but so much can happen in that one night. What makes this film so brilliant is its rich character development. Each main character has their own baity scene as it could be called, a scene that defines their role in the film and showcases their own plights. Edward Norton's scene comes early on, his "F*** you" monologue in the bathroom which is delivered in a way only Norton could deliver it. Hoffman's comes next, in the club, where he goes against his own better judgment and makes a pass at Anna. As he walks away from her his face reads all kinds of controlled emotions. Lastly, and most effective, comes Barry's defining moment, a scene towards the end of the film where he reluctantly carries out Monty's last request of him. Just watch out for it, it threw me for a loop.
Flawlessly orchestrated, `25th Hour' is a prime example of how a movie can be done right. From the moment Monty stumbles upon the `Bull Pitt' to the scene where he's driving towards the prison with his father James (Brian Cox) we are completely intoxicated with this well spun and brilliantly crafted drama. Adapted the screenplay from his own novel, David Benioff breathes life into his characters, giving them rich dialog to work with and delivering a fantastic script that these actors take and execute magnificently. Edward Norton has always been one of my favorite actors, a an who can take any role and make it memorable, and Monty Brogan is no exception....more info
- A Modern Classic in the Making
The book was great, and because the movie remained fairly true to the novel, it is of just as high a caliber. Great actors (some pretty famous ones) and a plot that kept me interested from start to finish. Worth the time and the money, especially if you were a fan of the novel....more info
- Spike Lee paid his tribute to the film noir!
Spike Lee made it . This film is a brief account about the last freedom moments about a dealer who will be sent to prison the next day . These last moments are clearly selected for him to do what he mostly loves . He meets with his friends and decides to celebrate his last traces as a free man .
Spike Lee could to elevate the rank of this simply tale making a glorious art direction through unforgettable sequences without falling in the soap melodram .
Lee is very smart director but his approach to tell us a story employing skillyfully all the european taste and sublime expressiveness meant for him one of his most recognized works .
Bravo for Lee and Edward Norton who gave a top knotch performance....more info
- Unsettling and atmospheric
With the release of 25th Hour, Spike Lee has been blamed for `going middle of the road'; for `going white', for `going Hollywood'. The film has also been accused of being too slow, too atmospheric, too indulgent, with no plot. Of course, it was only two years before that Lee's previous creation, `Bamboozled', was blamed for being too provocative, too racially focused, too in-your-face, and with too many contrived plot turns. It seems he just can't win these days; it seems quite obvious to me that these two films, very different though they are, are his best creations in a long time - since 1992's `Malcolm X' at least - and both are fantastic and original films, among my favorites.
It's true that there is very little going on in `25th Hour', but a lot is happening beneath the surface; while it raises none of the racial issues we may somehow expect from Lee, it's a very powerful - if subtle - social commentary, about post-9/11 New York City. Other than being the first major piece of fiction to refer to the disaster from a personal viewpoint, and that much can be seen from the beautiful montage of footage from the WTC monument that follows the moody opening scene. Lee's approach to this difficult and provocative subject is very real and very personal, and it's clearly from the viewpoint of a real New-Yorker. And although Ground Zero at WTC serves mainly as a backdrop and the attack is referred to directly only once in the film, it's hard not to see the important connection between the story of New York's disaster, and the personal disaster of New Yorker Monty Brogan.
25th Hour is as much an achievement for Spike Lee as it is for lead actor Edward Norton; and I consider it the final piece in a trilogy of fantastic films that clearly based Norton as one of the leading actors of his generation, a rise that began four years earlier with American History X and Fight Club (sadly, Norton has not again fulfilled his potential since 25th Hour, but I'm still waiting to see what he has to offer). Norton's portrayal of Monty Brogan is moving and complex; Brogan is a drug dealer, but he's not necessarily a bad guy - he's a man who made some bad decisions, and is now paying for them. And even though Norton is supported by a fantastic, first rate cast - one that includes Brian Cox, Rosario Dawson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper and Anna Paquin - it's clearly his show, and he makes the most of it. Norton brings Monty to life as a classic anti-hero, and he's as fascinating a protagonist as the characters he played in Fight Club and American History X. 25th Hour is an atmospheric and intense character study, and Norton's performance makes it perfect.
That can be seen most clearly in the infamous mirror monologue, which was attacked most vigorously by the film's critics, and hailed most enthusiastically by its supporters. That scene harks back to a very similar scene that Lee did many years before in his celebrated masterpiece `Do The Right Thing', but it provokes a very different meaning. Like the scene in `Do The Right Thing', the mirror scene is a perfect example of one of the things I love most about Lee as a director, and one that constantly angers his critics, is his uncompromising approach for provocation and straightforwardness; Lee never felt any need to be too subtle or to dodge artfully around painful subjects like racism, and in this scene he tackles the problems of post-9/11 head on, and with no fear of stirring things up. It's a powerful and difficult scene, one of the boldest made in recent years, and by itself it makes the film memorable.
25th Hour is poetry; if it sometimes seems slow, it's because the important action is all below the surface, in the soul of Monty Brogan, and in all the lost souls of New York City. It's probably the most atmospheric piece Lee has pulled, but it's a beautiful work, and is well recommended for fans of Lee's and Norton's both. It's an unnerving and unsettling experience, but well worth the admission....more info
- One of Lee's best
Spike Lee has some great gifts as a film maker. One is his ability to create chracters the audience can identify with and the other is to make the setting a character unto itself. 25th Hour was one of the first films shot in post 9/11 New York. Lee makes full use of this, showing how one city can play a big role in people's lives.
But 25th Hour is not about 9/11. 25th Hour is about friendship. It is about redemption. It is about uncertainty in the future. The film stars Edward Norton as a generally good man who unfortunately engaged in illegal activity and got caught. The film takes place on the final day before he is to serve his sentence and flashes back to the moments that led to his fate. We find him accepting of his fate, only questioning who and what led him to this moment. There is a brilliantly directed, much discussed scene where Norton is cursing the people of NYC, his friends, then finally himself as he stares at a reflection in a mirror. This is one of the single greatest scenes that define a character within a film.
This film has a brilliant script that focuses heavily not only on Norton, but two of his contrasting friends, played brilliantly by Barry Pepper and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Pepper is a sly Wall Street man who tries to be slick and even has an equation for his likelihood of success with women. Hoffman, in an untypically subtle understated performance, plays a shy seemingly shameful teacher. He serves as a counterbalance to Pepper. The way these two characters discuss themselves and their friend help define 25th Hour as a beautiful character piece.
This film's defining theme of an uncertain future is emphasized by the post 9/11 backdrop. One telling scene involves Hoffman and Pepper talking about Norton's possible future while we stare out Ground Zero in a window behind them. An uncertain future indeed......more info
- Allegory About America - Subversive 25th Hour
This movie is amazing, and what's more amazing is that Spike Lee got Disney to make it. This fact, along with the above Amazon review above, only go to show how completely the movies critics and funders missed the essential point of the work. It's not a eulogy, not a touching portrait of New York as it once was, this is clearly the most political movie that Spike Lee has ever produced. If you don't scratch the surface, the movie makes little sense. Ed Norton plays a drug dealer who gets caught and must decide if he will go to jail. The movie is really an allegory for the choice America must face: return to its idealistic roots, or enter a police state of violence and retribution. It's not surprising that everyone misses the point. The vocabulary of film does not employ allegory often, but in this instance, the allegory works precisely as a one-to-one correspondence between the characters in the film, and current events. Once you have the key, this movie makes far more sense, and it's clear what about this movie makes you sad, and also clear that Spike Lee has produced the most powerful work about our current choice between Empire and Republic, and what to my mind is the best art about 9-11 made to date....more info
- don't buy this....
just watched the movie. excelenttay!!!. very good. but not to buy. but rent this right now, as soon as you are done reading this!! but, for-warning. this is a movie, for intellagent real smart wise people, who don't really need to know a lot about people to know who they are. this is a bit of a fast paced movie. what's cool is yeah, it's mainly about edward nortons character, but instead of just seeing him the whole movie, you learn about the people in his life and their issues not even really realizing they are all conected. and uh the rouge chick from x-men, is so gooddarn seexxxzeeeee!!! oh yes, you can tell she knows how to screw!!! oh yeah! she's hot, just to see her alone in this film makes it worth it. all the acting by everyone in this movie is great. and also what's cool is it will mislead you. i'll leave it at that so as not to give away to much, but it makes you see it from a hidden characters veiw, and your like whoah, i thought wrong. but what makes this not the movie to buy for me, is just the ending. it's great and everything, nothing wrong with it, speaks some very good truths, and some very sweet dreams, it just made it not quite for my owning pleasure, you might like it, so that's cool. but if you are like me and looking for that one good film with edward nortan in it, get AMERICAN HISTORY X!!! great movie. peace you mofos!!!...more info