25th Hour (2002)

DVD Cover (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 76%
Overall Rating
Ranked #792
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The 25th Hour depicts the last day of freedom for a young man before he begins serving a seven-year jail term for drug dealing. Prowling through the city until dawn with his two close male friends and his girlfriend, he is forced to re-examine his life and how he got himself into his predicament, which leads to a shocking, disturbing finale. --IMDb
Edward Norton
Edward Norton
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Barry Pepper
Barry Pepper
Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson
Anna Paquin
Anna Paquin
Review by bluemeanie
Added: November 18, 2008
No one can argue that Spike Lee is a very determined and heartfelt director. He is usually very driven and almost always passionate about his work. "Do the Right Thing" is one of my very favorite films, and "Malcolm X", though I consider it to be flawed, was an epic of the time. "25th Hour" is the most original thing we have seen from Spike Lee in quite some time, and is a steady departure from his string of documentaries ("4 Little Girls", and "Jim Brown") and that television ad he directed for Al Gore. This is a performance driven piece, which relies solely on it's actors and lets us do most of the guessing for ourselves.

Edward Norton stars as Monty Brogan. After discovering that he is going to go to prison for seven years thanks to his dealings in the drug world, the film focuses on his last day as a free man. During the course of this last day, Monty makes peace with his girlfriend (Rosario Dawson), spends much time with his two pals (Philip Seymour-Hoffman and Barry Pepper), and even visits dear old dad (Brian Cox, who is popping up in virtually every film nowadays, which is a good thing). All the while he is trying to discover who ratted him out to the cops. Monty's journey is highlighted with the backdrop of a post 9/11 New York City. We see patriotism, workers cleaning up the rubble, and memorials all over the city. This really has little to do with the plot itself, but shows that, as Monty's life is changing, so is New York City, his home.

As I stated before, this is a performance piece. Edward Norton delivers a phenomenal and Oscar worthy performance as Monty, a man who knows that he will be going to prison, but doesn't feel right accepting it until he knows who put him there. Philip-Seymour Hoffman, as always, is wonderful in an entertaining supporting role, as are Rosario Dawson and Anna Paquin in their subsequent supporting onslaughts. Then there is the 'Pepper Allergy', which is what I use to describe anything starring Barry Pepper. I can't stand Barry Pepper and I did not like him in this film either. I think he is either, (a) overacting at a "Poseidon Adventure" level, or (b) not acting worth a flip. He just bothers me.

Spike Lee's "25th Hour" is a fine film, but still possessed several flaws, which I thought ultimately took away from the complexity and power than the film could have achieved. There is one monologue when Monty starts going off on the different types of people in New York, a slightly disturbing scene which brought back memories of previous Lee works. I felt that could have either been left out or fine-tuned a bit more. It just came off wrong for me. And, the endless references to 9/11 became annoying for me. I see why he had them in the film, but it started to seem like the film was actually about 9/11, with the backdrop of a bar and a man facing prison; it was suppose to be the other way around.

Overall, the performances are what made me enjoy this film so much. I have never been an avid Spike Lee fan, but this film makes me think there is hope for him after all. I don't think this film is quite as powerful as many have made it out to be, because the simple fact is - Monty deserves to go to prison. He is a drug dealer and that is where he belongs. We want to find out who ratted him out so we can shake their hand and pat them on the back. I could not feel sympathy for Norton's character, and felt much more emotion towards Dawson and Hoffman. Alas, "25th Hour" does manage to entertain, and reminded me of "Glengarry Glen Ross" with some of the long stretches of intense and well-written dialogue (it's certainly no David Mamet, but it still holds it's own). Go see this one -- you'll either love it or hate it. I was caught somewhere in the middle. And, NO, contrary to one review I read, this film does not seem like it was 25 hours long. 7/10.
etownpunx #1: etownpunx - added 11/19/2008, 11:41 AM
by far one of best movies i have ever seen spike lee has never really disapointed me
BuryMeAlive #2: BuryMeAlive - added 11/19/2008, 10:05 PM
What's the deal with all the X-Men references?
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