25th Hour * * * * 1/2

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Director: Spike Lee.
Screenplay: David Benioff.
Starring: Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Brian Cox, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin.

During the early to mid-1990’s Spike Lee was a director who could do no wrong in my eyes. His films were of a very high calibre and then he hit a dip in form, seemingly never recovering. This however, was a reminder of how good he can be.

Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) is a Manhattan drug dealer who has to confront the choices he has made in life on his last day before serving a seven-year prison sentence. He spends his last 24hours of freedom with his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) his father (Brian Cox) and his two best friends Frank (Barry Pepper) and Jake (Philip Seymour Hoffman), all the while determining who really sold him out.

This is a Spike Lee “joint” I don’t mind taking a hit off, at all. Filled with very intense and dramatic conversations and confrontations between the characters, delivered with superb performances. Norton and Hoffman have already cemented their reputations but Pepper is a highly under-rated actor that I predict will be winning awards very soon with the quality he consistantly delivers. It’s a real joy to watch them bounce off each other, adding real gravitas to some well written dialogue. Lee’s direction is also up close and personal, giving it a further sense of realism. The post 9/11 psyche of New Yorkers is a running theme throughout and even one scene has two characters overlooking ground-zero as they discuss the end of an era. Lee also explores the multi-cultural diversity of the city, like he has done previously in “Do The Right Thing” and “Jungle Fever”, among others. The diversity is also played out in the three friends, with very different values. It’s an ambitious film with nearly every other scene or character, subtly displaying metaphor for the fragile state of the city they inhabit.

Despite a running time that slightly overstays it’s welcome, this is a highly charged and thought-provoking allegory of capitalist America and boasts three superlative, indefatigable performances from Norton, Pepper & Hoffman.

Mark Walker

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6 Responses to “25th Hour * * * * 1/2”

  1. “25th Hour” really grew on me, wasn’t as fond of it until I saw it like 5 times. It’s such a unique movie. When I first heard of it, it was labeled as a crime movie, but it’s not really a crime movie at all. It has great acting, great script, great direction, and I think it is very deep. Soon I am going to edit my top 50 movies so each movie has a mini review of those movies on my list. So in around a week you can read my full thoughts on it. It is hard for me though, I feel whatever I say isn’t going the movie the proper justice, or love I feel it deserves. Working on my next review as of now, so mini reviews will happen next week. Thanks, and excellent review.

    Like

  2. No film captures the eerie mood of post 9/11 New York quite like Spike Lee’s 25th Hour.
    Its function as a stark reminder of the chilling presence that hung over Americans in the immediate aftermath of the the attacks, will only grow in importance as time goes on.

    Nice review!

    Like

    • I couldn’t agree more Dean. I think Lee captures it in it’s entirety. At times it’s like a sledgehammer and others its very subtly delivered. If a fantastic film.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, man. Much appreciated. 🙂

      Like

  3. I’ve been told so many times that I need to see this movie and after reading this review, I really must.

    Like

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