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25th Hour
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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Like a fine wine...

10/10
Author: Pebble-2 from Warwickshire, England
13 January 2006

A perfectly paced drama without the melo. It really is just a delight to revel in the photography, the acting and the excellent score. Like sitting in a comfortable chair and really savouring a fine wine without any distractions, Spike Lee's film is a melancholic meditation on the nature of the choices we make and the regrets we might have about both the things we have done and the things we haven't. About temptation and its consequences.

All of the cast performances are spot on, as you would expect from such a great line-up. Norton in particular manages to draw empathy from what on the face of it is a pretty repellent role. Brian Cox manages to answer the question of why anyone would need a Brit to play a New Yorker.

I notice there are some negative reviews with regard to the 9/11 references. I barely noticed those references. They were there but they didn't remotely define the film, they were just part of the background. This isn't a post-9/11 film, just a film that was made post-9/11.

Truly moving, but not one for action devotees. 10/10.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

brilliant!!

Author: lilaqueen from Turkey
16 November 2005

Whomever he enacts, watching Edward Norton is always a great pleasure. But this was beyond it, the film is one of the best films I have ever seen about human nature, friendship, life and hope. The tempo of the film never decreases and very appropriate flash backs enrich the movie as well. The feeling of entrapment and desperation never let the film to be depressed, even the director is playing with the feelings so well you get lost somewhere between entrapment and freedom.Besides the cinematography, music,plot,beautiful NY, excellent acting and directing you feel as if you go to prison instead of Monty.

There is really not much to say...I have to admit it was much much beyond my thoughts....watch it you'll be amazed and won't regret!!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly Effective

8/10
Author: shark-43 from L.A. CA
7 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I didn't catch this film when it was in the theatres. I knew of the novel and that many people liked it and I remember the film getting some decent reviews.I also remember it did NO box office. None. So I finally caught it on DVD and I was really surprised. The film is powerful and insightful and full of great acting. Norton is fantastic - so real, so in the moment - his fury and racist speech to himself in the mirror should become a film classic. I can take or leave Spike Lee as a director - some of his stuff is good and some is lame (especially some of his recent stuff) but I thought Lee did a very good job. There were a few times (with jump cuts and colored lights) where he showed off a bit - wheee - look at me, I'm directing --- but many times - he kept the camera still and just filmed good actors doing good work. Pepper's performance blew me away - I didn't know he could be that good. The scenes with him and the always impressive Hoffman were some of the best in the movie. Very well done. I thought about this film long after I saw it. An underrated gem.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

25th Hour (2002)

10/10
Author: Xenoid (varabian@gmail.com) from Watertown, MA
9 August 2005

In an effort to bring light to what I feel is an one of the more underrated films from Spike Lee, director of Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, and other fine pieces of work. Adapted from the novel by the author, David Benioff translated this character study. A drug dealer changes his life in 24 hours, realizing his past mistakes, seeking a self-redemption.

Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton), an Irish kid from Bay Ridge went to an academy on scholarship, where he began dealing pot to kids in the high school. A dream to live well, and own courtside seats at Madison Square Garden pushed Monty deeper into his criminal dealings. Caught in act by the DEA, Monty is sentenced to seven years.

The film opens with Monty saving an injured, burned dog. Here in his last 24 hours, we learn that saving that dog is one of the only truly good things that Monty did in his spiral downward. In the present day, Monty takes a walk through those people important to him, his Father (Brian Cox), his girlfriend Naturalle (Rosario Dawson), and friends, English Teacher Jacob Elinsky (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and hot shot Wall-Street player Frank Slattery (Barry Pepper).

True in Spike Lee's style, there's a big story underneath the skin of this film. His theme in Do the Right Thing, was race relations between the left over Italians in a now predominately black community. 25th Hour is Lee's ode to the city, post-9/11. It is such a subtle tribute, that it is not in your face, but you can see, the people have changed because of the tragedy. In a memorable scene, the camera cranes slightly above Hoffman and Pepper, revealing the clean-up of Ground Zero below, and the icing on the cake, the magnificent score by Terence Blanchard.

The film is polished, and to paraphrase a quote Spike Lee used himself in an interview for his upcoming Inside Man, Kurosawa, at 85, said there was still a lot he needed to learn about making films. Spike Lee, like all other great directors, is always growing.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

magnificent, a masterpiece of artistry by Spike Lee

Author: antoniotierno from Italy
21 November 2004

One of the most splendid flicks ever to come out of Hollywood. It tells the story of Monty Brogan, a guy who's gonna serve a seven-year prison sentence and spends his last day of freedom getting together with his friends and family. Monty is scared of what awaits him, and suspects his girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) of ratting him out to the police. Based upon the novel by David Benioff, this film, the first to be granted access to Ground Zero, got an excellent cast of actors who all gave outstanding performances. Spike Lee turns emblematic themes of American culture, like "the second chance" and "racial conflicts", into a meditation on America after 9 11th tragedy. The film has extraordinary sequences, like the big "fuck you" that Monty delivers in front of the mirror to everything he can't stand about NY, and the alternative moving finale.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Ghostbusters has more NYC attitude

3/10
Author: charlietruffles from Jerusalem, Israel
9 October 2003

The movie starts out with a slick yellow car cruising down the highway and then the classic shot of the car driving towards the camera BUT this time as soon as the car approaches the camera it backs up. Only a master director will do something that subtle. And the whole movie reflects that self-consciousness. As soon as the viewer thinks the film will go one way it goes another which makes the film grab your attention. But the payoff at the end didn't meet the expectations of this (re)viewer.

I think the film is subsumed in trying to make Ed Norton, a drug dealer, the symbol of New York City consciousness. I was hard pressed to see drama in this film that I can relate to. Only a kitsch feeling of NYC superiority along the lines of Triumph of the Will.

Spike seems in this film to make a highlight reel of all the cool, hip, popular film and tv series and place it in one way or another in this film: Boiler Room, When Harry Met Sally (but without Sally), any movie with a Russian mafia figure, Oz paranoia, Manhattan, Burns film, hip-hop music videos, Law and Order, and NYPD Blue. Just that Spike takes these films and makes them realistic, as a result the characters are all well-defined and he handles the subject matter delicately and doesn't judge. To his credit, the dialogue is punchy and enjoyable to hear. But he kept on harping on WTC and not focusing on the story-Spike you're not a poet or lyricist.

I still maintain the best movie on WTC which preceded it by many years is Ghostbusters. Yes it's a comedy, but look how all New Yorkers united and became a team and overcame; like the REAL unmentionable act of terror.

WARNING A COP-OUT CONCLUSION (but can't help myself) But how can I truly hate a Spike Lee movie, there just cool to watch and see a different side of life.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Typical Spike Lee waste!

Author: gwbno1 from Suffern, NY
15 September 2003

What would you do on your last day before going to prison? Not much according to Spike Lee. Go to a club and think about what got you in the predicament you are in. That's about it. Of course Spike never let's us down. The usual messages about society have found there way into a movie that has no place for them. That ridiculous scene where Edward Norton is looking at himself in the mirror is so laughable and out of place it is beyond belief. What that had to do with anything I can't figure out. The musical score is always too loud and too boring. He always cranks it up during one of his way too long conversations between 2 characters. The waste of talent in this movie is a sin. I feel bad for Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton. Having to work for Spike Lee and his amateurish film making.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

No good!

Author: ignatiusloyala
8 July 2003

I just don't get it: is this movie about 911 attack or about Monty's last day? If it is about 911, what's the purpose of all the partying, racial criticism, etc? If it is about Monty's last day, what does it have to do with the WTC and Osama bin Laden?

I find this movie quite confusing at this point. It seems to me that Lee wants to salute to the deceased in 911 attack while telling the story of Monty. But the movie is definitely not a coherent whole. AND THE TAGLINE!!! I don't think Monty has done anything to CHANGE HIS LIFE IN ONE DAY except for making Frank beat him up. Jacob's little love affair is also too superficial and meaningless to the whole story, if it is meant to portray the last day of Monty's life before going to jail.

OK. There's one great thing about this movie: the acting. But apart from that, nah! A movie for you if you are a Norton fan. Otherwise, just enjoy your 24 hours and forget this pathetic extra hour of trash.

Grade: C

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

I love Spike, but this sucked

Author: wolff001 from Home in bed
23 June 2003

I've seen all of Spike's work and own most of it in my video collection. He is one of my favorite directors. But, this? This was one of his worst.

First, what was the point of all the gratuitous 9/11 imagery? Did it add to or enrich the telling of the story? Did it have anything to do with the plot at all?

Next, the f-u scene in the bathroom was great in 1989 with Do the Right Thing, but in here it was more a case of doing the tired thing. I didn't really detect enough sustained racial angst from any of the characters to warrant the scene.

The floating track shots are old and tired.

Though Ed Norton and Phillip Seymour Hoffman are among my favorite actors, there were not enough bright moments in this movie for them to shine. Ed Norton did not make a convincing dealer-sorry. Hoffman's character served no purpose to the plot.

In all, it played like a jumbled pile of Lee clichés carelessly thrown together. I hope this doesn't represent the downward slope of the career arc of one of greatest directors in film. Let's see what he does next.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Frustrating, but worthwhile *possible spoilers*

8/10
Author: Robbmonster from Melbourne, Australia
11 June 2003

A great opening scene sets up Norton's character brilliantly; he finds a wounded dog on the roadside and decides to kill it. When the dog snarls at him, Monty sees the dog still wants to live and decides instead to capture it and take it to the vet. The dog remains his companion throughout the film. The film benefits from fantastic performances and a director who knows what he's doing. I'll make an early prediction for another Oscar nomination for Norton, and Pepper might get one also. The film is basically very powerful and well told, and keeps you guessing right to the end.

The film suffers from a fractured sense of time. By this I mean that the film will kick into a flashback all of a sudden and you have no feel for how long ago it was. Paquin's character is just a piece of luggage who lends herself to another problem with the film - running time. The film is too long in getting started and too long in wrapping itself up, and also has a habit of going off on tangents, i.e.: Hoffman's infatuation with Paquin. This subplot is unnecessary to begin with but does have a good, thoughtful resolution.

All in all, the film is far from perfect, but Lee's style is as compelling as always, and the acting is spot on all around. Basically it is a good story well told, even if it is a little heavy on the seasoning in places. I also think most people will find the ending a mite frustrating.

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