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25th Hour
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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Scattered, overlong, some fine performances.

6/10
Author: eebmtl from Montreal
24 July 2003

Like buckshot, all over the place. Somewhere in here there is a very good (maybe great) film, but it needs to lose 20-35 minutes.

That being said, fine performances all around.

Spike needs to preach less, stop trying to use "cool" camera and editing techniques, leave that to the music video crossover directors.

Spike Lee is a better director than this movie would lead someone to believe.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A little too much.

7/10
Author: Fong_Chun_Kin from Singapore
18 April 2003

I find this film a little overrated. The incredible cast assembled forms the only backbone of the movie, which is always in danger of being broken by its lack of pace. The drag becomes a little too heavy after an hour into the film, despite the strong performances of Norton and Co. The movie could have ended on several occasions, yet it persists in slowly pushing forward and resulting in a rather unsatisfactory ending, an ending which the efforts put in by the actors do not deserve. As mentioned, the cast is outstanding, with Barry Pepper being my actor of the movie. He outshines everyone with his unabashed attitude and utterly convincing portrayal of one good friend being afraid to show his true loyalty in a society that often cynically rewards good with evil.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Just Amazing, one of my favorites!

10/10
Author: thelockbox from Upland, USA
13 January 2008

I found this film to be amazing. It deals with a lengthy jail sentencing as though it is the diagnosis of a fast moving terminal disease out to alter and end one' life. The film has such complex, deep characters with so many contradictions that make this movie so compelling. While Lee usually focuses on the issue of Black and White in America, a world of people whose likability and character are in the gray are captured wonderfully.

Technically the film is superb. The score, the cinematography, the editing are all spot on. The cast is perfect, particularly great performances by Norton and Pepper. Rosario Dawson is so eye-catching in the film. Lee and the script do a great job touching on the subjects of misplaced rage, race, and distrust.

This is the only movie that I've seen that doesn't over-look the anxiety and impending sense of doom for those affected by a conviction-the convicted, and his/her friends or family. Hollywood only seems interested in the show of the trial or the fear and savagery of the prison film.

This is just a wonderful drama, that is so moving, and leaves you thinking about it days later. It hits everything right, and mixes the right amount of suspense (who is the Judas?), a perfect touch of humor, and it illustrates the complexity of human relationships among friends, lovers, and family. It just might motivate some to analyze their life choices and consequences, who are those that are true to them, and what matters to them.

Only in our society do we find it inhumane for having the state ends someone's life for crimes they've been convicted of, but find it completely humane to have their life end or be taken in a small cell out of the society's view, or to rob them of hope with long sentences and hiring practices regarding convicted felons.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A powerful and haunting parable.

Author: josevcutts (josevcutts@hotmail.com) from Sheffield, Northern England
12 November 2004

As 'A Spike Lee Joint,' 25th hour is a paradigm, filled with Lee's typical style and directorial vigor. 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 elicit trade, must make peace with his family and friends, answer to his Red Mafia 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 to a sodium lit nighttime 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. 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 disheveled 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.

A subplot concerns blame, where Monty vilifies and accuses everyone in the city, himself included. However, later in the film, the injustice of this is rectified with a simple shot of the various people, looking upon him with sympathy – the personification of this being a small boy offering a sign of friendship. Monty's own redemption begins and is represented by him expressing his brotherhood to the child in return.

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. It could've been very easy for a film of this nature to fail by being presented as an embarrassing lecture. Thankfully 25th Hour is definitely no lecture, but a powerful and haunting movie.

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39 out of 73 people found the following review useful:

this movie rocks

Author: aaronweaver17 from Hanover, PA
26 November 2004

This movie is excellent. Not a big fan of Spike Lee, but was interested in seeing his first "white" movie. Not racist, but that is how i saw it. His first movie that was with mostly white actors. I loved the movie. I have much more respect for Mr. Lee. I love the f-uc you scene. That is the best part of the movie. The theme of him escaping from this torture that he is about to go through also moved me. Very sad, but very real and moving movie. Drug laws in this country are far too restrictive and they ruin (usually minorities') lives. Great job, Spike Lee!! I loved Barry Pepper as the Stock Broker. I loved Ed Norton. He is always great, and this performance is no different..

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It insists upon itself. Could have been so much better.

5/10
Author: moyer20279 from United States
18 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first thing that caught me off guard was the editing. Was Lee going for dramatic effect, or were they just a little high that day?

There are so many conversations that are just meaningless, it does not give you a glimpse into their lives.

I'm sure the book went much more into developing the characters but that did not translate well into a script

He still could have gone out west and started a family when he got out of jail.

TWC in the background? long F U speech? added nothing.

5.5/10

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A Different League !!

9/10
Author: Vicky from India
15 December 2007

I normally avoid writing comments until the movie is really great. This is one of those movies which inspire you to share your fulfilling experience with others.

Without doubt, this is one of the best storyline and the acting is spot on. I mean, all characters were so real and identifiable that you could not wonder but imagine a life-like narration going on. I got totally sucked into the movie towards 15 minutes from the start. I have seen Edward Norton deliver the goods before and I had no doubt in my mind that he will not disappoint. But here, he is in a league of a different kind. I really admire his role selection and execution. He has that boyish looks but nonetheless, he is able to fit himself in a wide variety of roles so easily. I look forward to see more of him in such engaging roles.

Other then that, the director had devoted considerable footage in developing the other supporting characters as well. This is really great. As one of the comments said, "it doesn't work when you deviate from the main characters to focus on the supporting characters". But here, Seymour and Barry's character development is so effective as they are the only friends Edward have and there feelings for Edward basically defines his character.

Rosario (Men in Black) and Anna (X-Men) were excellently cast as Edward's love interest and Philip's teen student. They both were young with interests in older men in their life and they delivered quite effectively.

Brian Cox as Edward's Father was very real and his repent towards the end for being responsible for what became of Edward was also beautifully portrayed.

I appreciate the film at all levels and suggest strongly to watch this alone in your quiet time. This will definitely help you to appreciate Life.

My Score: 9 out of 10

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

25th Hour (2002) : A Dog's Life or Taps for a Drug Dealer

10/10
Author: lord woodburry (deanofrpps@aol.com) from The Society NY
3 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Director Spike Lee poses the question: Can you change your whole life in a day by wishing it were so?

Synopsis: Awaiting execution of his seven year prison sentence, Drug Lord Monty Brogan reevaluates his entire life.

Taps for A drug Dealer

The last day of freedom for Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) before a seven-year drug dealing term starts on the promenade overlooking the East River as Monty ponders his life. Born into an Irish family with an alcoholic father (Brian Cox) and an angelic mother, Brogan though short won a prep school scholarship for basketball. On his sad walkabout Brogan revisits the school with his dog Doyle.

Doyle is no ordinary dog. Brogan on the way to a drug deal found the battered Doyle by the side of the road and brought the battered animal to a Vet.

At the school Brogan learns his youthful laurels have been surpassed by later students and his records broken. Regretfully though a star player, Brogan had been cut from the team before graduation. Brogan had discovered it more profitable to sell drugs to rich kids at the school rather than play basketball.

There is a certain charm to Monty Brogan despite his chosen career in drugs. Yet it is difficult to feel even a little sympathy for a man who has exchanged dreams of court-side seats at Madison Square Garden for the dock in a different forum or even to despise whoever might have turned the wretch in.

In the hours before execution of sentence, Brogan must question who betrayed him: his girlfriend Naturalle is as likely prospect as his business associate Kostya.

In a disturbing looks at himself in the mirror, Brogan is quite frank in his hates: The Catholic Church, The clannish Italians, The Irish firemen, the patrons of his father's bar all killed at the World Trade Center, The Diamond Merchants, Blacks who in his opinion can't really play basketball and immigrants of all types. Did Brogan leave anyone out?

Edward Norton plays Brogan the centerpiece of the drama with consummate persuasion. Yet at 6'1" he is hardly the scrawny Irish kid who leaped onto the basketball court with a fury. Nor is Norton, the son of a polished Baltimore barrister, from a dysfunctional home in the nether world of the borderline between poverty and respectability.

Yet Norton carries Brogan so well that the Brogan character melds into the film's remarkable, excellent, realistic local color from New York. As Brogan rants how much he hates his father, the viewer flows in a flashback right into Brogan's father's tavern with off-duty city firemen cheering the NY Yankees on and is flashed ahead to the wreaths laid in their memory against a wall. Brogan's drug money kept the bar afloat. How Brogan wishes he had invested the loot with a high school friend who became a successful trader on Wall Street.

Although the screen play is ambitious and daring in trying to make a sympathetic character out of slick drug dealer in final days before imprisonment, the well-drawn characters plod through wholly believable situations in Spike Lee's terrifying, raw look at society and penetrating study of Irish Americans.

On his last fling, Brogan takes his high school chums for a visit to one of those Manhattan clubs where the drug world, the haute monde and the mob intersect, certainly the type of den of inequity which could produce the traitor.

Surrendering faithful Doyle to one of his friends, Brogan demands a beating from the other so that he'll look tough enough for prison.

His father arrives to drive Brogan to Otisville, but privately offers to send him into hiding. Brogan vividly imagines the type of life he could lead on the lam or does Brogan imagine going to jail?

Lee captures in a fleeting seconds at the end what few outsiders understand about the duality of the minds of the Kelts and the power of the dream world and the imagination

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Saved at the 11th Hour

10/10
Author: longislandlloyd from United States
8 May 2005

Just as I was about to burn my DVD player and go back to stamp collecting, and after enduring so many mediocre, juvenile, girlie, shallow, and forgettable 21st century films, I finally found a movie worth raving about. "The 25th Hour" had everything you'd expect in a 1st class film. Edward Norton and Barry Pepper did an outstanding job running their emotions from one extreme to another. Despite being 2 reprehensible characters, they were able to elicit our sympathies and find some goodness in them. We found ourselves warming up to Monty for his love for his girlfriend, his father, and his dog. And we applauded Frank for his convictions towards his life-long friend, Monty. Rosario Dawson played a very sexy and convincing girlfriend who stood by her convicted lover. The scenes of New York and the references to the World Trade Center destruction were provided by the experienced eyes and mind of Spike Lee. They added realism and intensity to the story. He told a tale of a desperate New Yorker who had just 24 hours to clean up the mess he created and reconcile the grim future that lie ahead. A fine movie on all fronts. One that can be watched and appreciated again and again.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

brilliant reflection on America post-September 11th

8/10
Author: jomipira from Lisbon, Portugal
27 May 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spike Lee comes back with a controversial new film. One of America's greatest directors is firming himself as a New York film-maker (in different style but much like Woody Allen) and not as a black film-maker, as is earlier work might induce. This powerful movie is the first true reflection on the American guilt after the tragedy of September 11th.(POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!) Edward Norton (fantastic once again)is a man on is way to jail. He is an anti-hero, with a terrible future completely to is own fault. His family and friends symbolize different aspects of a multi-racial, multi-cultural society, with their merits and flaws. The brilliant mirror-scene on which Norton blames the world for his fate (and shows all the hatred and anger) is one of the most powerful scenes in recent cinema.The same people he blames are there in the end to see him off smiling. The final scene is also powerful, the dream of another life is father tells his son is only that, a dream...There is nothing he can do, he won't run away, nothing will ever be the same, like the world won't be the same after those tragic events...

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