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If you liked "American History X", you'll love "25th Hour"
Smells_Like_Cheese25 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
25th Hour is a movie that I just came across one day and decided to rent it, I noticed that it had Edward Norton in it and figured that I would just give it a shot. I absolutely fell in love with Edward Norton when I saw American History X, he immediately became one of my favorite actors. I couldn't believe how much I fell in love with this movie, it's honestly one of my new favorite movies, it's intelligent, intense, and greatly written. Edward Norton pulls off an incredible performance and truth be told I couldn't believe he didn't get a nomination at least for this movie, I don't know 25th Hour just didn't get enough notice, but this is a great movie and a very moving story.

Monty Brogan is walking the streets of New York with Doyle his dog. He goes to his old school where he meets up with his teacher friend Jacob Elinsky and discusses a get-together at a local club planned later that evening. Elinksy then calls Frank Slaughtery who is working as a Wall Street trader. Brogan then goes home to his girlfriend Naturelle and they discuss the fact that this is his last night before prison. Brogan has been busted for being a drug dealer, and he is looking at seven years in Otisville prison. Brogan visits his father James at his Irish pub, and his father blames himself for Monty getting into the position he's in. Brogan and his father then discuss whether it was Naturelle who tipped off the police about him. The group later meets at the club, Jacob runs into one of his students, Mary who we see before complaining to Jacob about the grade of one of her papers. She goes with them into the club. Frank and Naturelle also discuss how Monty got to this position, but Frank accuses her of not doing anything because she got used to a fancy life. Monty and his partner Kostya then go to speak to a group of Russian mobsters, run by Uncle Nikolai. Nikolai gives Monty some tips on how to survive in prison. Then it is revealed who really was the traitor that tipped the police about Monty.

25th Hour is also the movie that introduced me to Rosario Dawson and I have to tell you that I fell for this girl immediately, she's a great leading actress who has a strong presence on the screen. In fact the entire cast is something to admire in this movie: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Anna Paquin and Barry Pepper. Then we have this incredibly intense scene that is one of my favorite in movie history, when Edward Norton is in the bathroom and goes off blaming everyone else for his problems then finally breaks down and just says "F you, you had it all and you screwed it up", that scene went from funny to intense to just plan sad. This was also the fist movie that also brought up the pain and aftermath in New York after 9/11, the opening scene was in fact showing the lights that represented where the towers once stood and you really felt the pain and emptiness of New York. Honestly I would say this is Spike Lee's best film, it's not bitter or over the top and made this film perfectly. If you have the opportunity to see this movie, I highly recommend that you take it, it's such a terrific story and is one of the most effective of 2002.

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Masterpiece of human emotion
tastyworm8 November 2004
'I tattooed 'survive' on my hand the night before I went away to prison. And I did. We do what we have to do to survive.'

I don't think I can remember a film that has put me more on an emotive level with the main character as this film has. Edward Norton plays Monty Brogan – he's not the nicest of people by anyone's standards – and certainly no one you should feel sorry for. But having said that, I have never felt so sorry for the bad guy as I did watching this film. We watch the anguish of Monty during his last 24 hours on the 'outside' before he must go to prison for seven years, knowing completely what is in store for him on the 'inside'.

Set in post 9/11 New York City, we are constantly reminded of humanity and the need to bond together and to make the most of the little time we have; as do Monty's friends, including Jacob Elinsky (Hoffman), a confused and self-tortured school teacher who has strong feelings for one of the students in his class, Mary (Paquin – of X-Men and The Piano fame). Although not about to die, Monty's world is about to turn severely bad, and there's nothing he can do about it. Norton's performance made me feel nervous and quite scared on his behalf, almost to the point of feeling nauseous. It made me want to forgive him, forget about his crimes and let him go (he seemed sorry for what he did – he was no longer a drug dealer – he was trying to make an effort). His performance worked. He had successfully transformed the criminal figure into your best mate and buddy, perhaps even yourself, and you genuinely feel sorry for him.

Director Spike Lee's films usually deal with African-American themes, so it came as a surprise to me to find that this film was something very different – proving that Lee's talent extends across multiple genres and styles.

I highly recommend 25th Hour, not just for the brilliant story, but for the emphatic feelings the film imparts on the viewer.
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One of Spike's best
mattymatt4ever26 May 2003
This is definitely Spike Lee at the top of his game! `25th Hour' is a purely character-driven drama filled with engaging, complex characters and sharp dialogue. I like how Spike allowed the scenes to play out, without being too concerned about dampening the pacing. I'm sure some will complain (and this probably explains why it wasn't a big success) that the film is boring and slow-moving. If they do, that's probably because audiences are so used to watching movies with a million cuts in one scene, and more time emphasized on action and sex scenes than character development. The characters were so well-developed that I felt a deep connection with each of them. It's rare nowadays that I really get sucked into a film, and this was one of those rare cases. It might also have to do with the fact that I'm familiar with many of these types of characters in real life. You have the Barry Pepper character, who's this smooth-talking playboy who ends sleeping with a ton of women, despite the fact that he's harsh and not very likable. And there's the Philip Seymour Hoffman character, who's a lonely, average-looking guy, who's alienated from society because he doesn't look like an Adonis. It's a harsh reality that handsome guys with nice bodies get away with being complete jerks and still maintain an active dating life, while average-looking guys can have great personalities and women will be repulsed by them, but it is indeed a reality. Sure, it isn't right for Hoffman to be lusting after one of his underage students, but I'm sure if he were ten times better looking, people wouldn't be as disgusted-because God knows that teachers sleeping with their students is sweeping the globe like an epidemic.

The approach to these character interaction scenes is almost documentary-like, which adds to the film's engaging qualities. I love the scene between Pepper and Hoffman, where they chat about dating and Pepper describes his buddy as being part of the 62nd percentile, in the dating world. Sometimes it doesn't work when you deviate from the main characters to focus on the supporting characters, but in this film it did, being that they're very essential in Monty's life and it's helpful to allow the audience to know them inside and out.

The acting is terrific. Edward Norton is always brilliant. But the supporting cast is just as strong. Barry Pepper is a wonderful actor as well, and it's interesting to find out that he's from Vancouver, yet he convincingly inhabits the character of a true New Yorker. Brian Cox is only in the film for about 20 or 30 minutes, but his appearances are very memorable, and he is absolutely magnificent. After seeing him in this movie, I must add him to my list of favorite underrated actors. It's ironic that he shows up in practically every other film, yet he never gets the recognition he deserves. Hopefully, one day he will. Even Tony Siragusa impressed me. I'm not hugely familiar with him, but I saw him make a guest appearance once on `The Tonight Show,' and he seems like a cool guy with a good sense of humor, but I wasn't sure how he'd pan out in a serious dramatic role. Well, he is great, and pulls off the Ukrainian accent with hardly a hitch. I also liked how his character would mess up on his English every once in a while, instead of these foreign characters in movies who speak perfect English, only with an accent. I'm always proud to see Philip Seymour Hoffman, who never fails to impress. One reason I'm so drawn to him is because-like me-he's an average-looking guy, yet he receives decent roles and doesn't get typed as the `fat slob' like most actors in his weight range. So I think of him as an inspiration to all overweight aspiring actors. I once read a review for `Magnolia' in which someone bashed him for being so ugly. Of course, this person didn't mention anything about his acting, but that just proves how superficial of a society we live in today. Many audiences are so used to seeing actors and actresses with near-perfect faces and near-perfect bodies that they can't stand to see actors who look like `normal people.' How often do you walk outside and see people who look like Tom Cruise and Gwyneth Paltrow? Even these so-called reality shows try to include the most beautiful people possible. So people get hypnotized into thinking that's reality. I'm a heterosexual man, so naturally I'm open about enjoying the sights of beautiful actresses, but that's not going to impact how I feel about their acting abilities. And the sight of beautiful women alone surely doesn't make a film good (i.e.: `Charlie Angels'). Speaking of beautiful women, wrapping up this talented cast are Anna Paiquin and Rosario Dawson. Paiquin is cute and effective in her role, though technically it's similar to the ones she played in `HurlyBurly' and `It's the Rage.' I just hope she doesn't get typecast as the teenage slut who loves sleeping with older men. But she's a fine actress, and despite these similarities, she takes different approaches to each of her characters. Rosario Dawson just gets hotter and hotter by the movie. When I saw that trailer shot where she's dancing in the club in that silver dress, I couldn't help but think to myself, `I'd give my left leg to marry that girl.' Well, I'm glad to see that she receives good roles that compliment her acting abilities. She really has a commanding screen presence, outside of her outstanding beauty.

I only have two minor criticisms about the film. One is the unnecessary `F.U. sequence' where Norton goes on a blue streak about his hatred for the people of NYC and the world in general. I'm sure many will find deep meaning in that sequence, but I felt it was out of place and simply an opportunity to remind people that this is a Spike Lee joint-since it's identical to the race-bashing montage in `Do the Right Thing.' Spike mentioned in the commentary that the scene was in the screenplay, and adapted from the original novel, but I'm sure he thought of it as a perfect opportunity to insert one of his directorial trademarks. My other criticism is the use of flashbacks. Nowadays, some directors feel that dissolving into flashbacks and showing subtitles that read things like `Three years earlier' is passe, but the audience needs some sort of clue that we're going back in time. In the scene where Dawson and her friend are in the playground, and Norton first meets her, is obviously a flashback since Dawson is wearing a Catholic private school uniform. But there are other scenes that I didn't realize were flashbacks until I watched the movie with Spike's commentary. But even without knowing those scenes were flashbacks, I didn't feel thrown off, so that's always a good sign.

Besides the `F.U. sequence,' there were other Spike trademarks, which I felt worked out well, like his famous dolly shot. The movie is long, but not overlong. As I said, this is Spike at the top of his game. I'm personally a fan of most of his work, even the awfully bashed `Summer of Sam.' Other fans should also be impressed. Hell, even if you're not a Spike Lee fan, you should appreciate this film! It's a smartly written, well-acted, character-driven drama that doesn't come along too often.

My score: 9 (out of 10)
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Absolute perfection. It's as great as the book.
Justin Harris11 January 2003
I read the novel 'The 25th Hour' before I even knew it was going to be adapted into a movie and I absolutely loved it. I thought it was one of the best books written in the last ten years. Being a huge fan of Spike Lee and Edward Norton, I was extremely excited when I found they were making it into a film.

However I will admit I was a bit skeptical to whether Spike Lee could pull the film off, but when I saw the trailer I had a new found faith in it and I'm sorry to of doubted him. I saw the film yesterday and was just amazed. It's nearly flawless and is almost exactly like the novel which was written by David Benioff (who also wrote the screenplay).

The characters in the film are great. You got Monty Brogan (Norton) who's looking at seven years for drug dealing charges. It's his last day of freedom and he's just trying to tie up any loose ends before he goes. Then you got his two friends, Frank Slaughtery (Barry Pepper) and Jakob Elinsky (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who each have to deal with the fact that their best friend is going away for seven years, but also have their own demons to deal with. You also have his girlfriend, Naturelle Rivera (Rosario Dawson) who must deal with it as well and must also deal with the fact that she's suspect on who could have sold Monty out to the DEA. And finally you have James Brogan (Brian Cox), Monty's father. He's a hard working guy who obviously wished that things didn't turn out the way they did. One last night for Monty to set things straight and also make decisions.

The film sticks almost exactly to the novel, but there are slight differences. Since the novel was written in 2000 and the movie was filmed during 2002, Spike Lee and David Benioff included the mentioning of the attacks on New York and the aftermath, which I applaud Lee for. He didn't cop out and try to ignore it like others. It was necessary to capture the emotion of what New Yorkers are facing and among that, what the characters have to face with Monty going to prison. There are also slight differences and cut outs from the book to make the film flow easier, but I was disappointed with only one thing that the film didn't include. In the novel, Monty constantly thinks of how he always wanted to be a fireman. While firemen references and his father was a fireman are all mentioned in the film, it didn't really tackle Monty's regret of never becoming a fireman, like it did in the book. But the film makes up for that one thing by being terrific all around.

There are some stellar performances here. Edward Norton is always great in everything he plays, but in this film he is just excellent. The 'F**k You' scene he has when he's staring in the mirror is just excellent and I hope he gets an Oscar nomination for this role (he was robbed from one for American History X). Barry Pepper is in his greatest performance yet as the tough guy stockbroker. Philip Seymour Hoffman was great as Jakob, the high school teacher. Dealing with his attraction to his student, Mary (Anna Paquin). Rosario Dawson really made me feel for her and it was great to see more of her in a film. Brian Cox doesn't have a huge role, but he's great as Monty's father. I would also like to give praise to Tony Siragusa for his performance as Kostya. He was dead on with the accent.

So without going on any further, I just have to say that '25th Hour' was really great and is now one of my favorite films of all time.

SCORE: 9 out of 10 (excellent)
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25th Hour, A Film With Sway!
JamesLisk17 November 2004
For myself, watching 25th Hour was sort-of like taking a palm reading. Noticing one line, representative of a life-path, stretches out long and far, while another line branches off and stops short in the middle of your palm. You question which life path will you take, and which are you currently on now. Are you one the short one or the long one? You question the various choices and decisions that you made in the past, and which life-line have those choices and decisions ultimately lead you down. In a round-about way, the three characters in Spike Lee's 25th Hour are struggling with these same kind of questions. Based on a novel by David Benioff, the film is essentially three people struggling with the choices that they have made in their past, and the choices they are to make in the future -- and which path will it ultimately lead them down.

Edward Norton stars as Monty Brogan, a man whose life decision, becoming a drug dealer, has left him facing a seven year prison term, "...with 84 days off with good behaviour." It's the morning before, and Monty has twenty-five hours left to examine his life, bond with his closest friends, say goodbye to family, find a home for his dog, and figure out a way to survive in the joint. At one point, Monty's friend refers to his incarceration, as "...going to hell and never coming back," and the audience gets the feeling that it's not just a coy metaphor. If Monty does survive his "time", he will most assuredly not be the person they once knew when he gets out.

Even though he has grown distant from them over the years, Monty chooses to spend his remaining hours with his closest friends from childhood, Jacob Elinsky (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Frank Slaughtery (Barry Pepper). Socially and economically, these are two of the most dissimilar people one is likely to see spending time together in a film. Their only real connection is the deeply entrenched devotion they feel to their friend. Jacob is a nerdy English teacher, whose gift for the language, has done little for his social skills. His self-doubt and shame for being born wealthy has left him single, lonely and in a thankless job. He desperately yearns for one of his students, a beautiful and precocious seventeen year old, Mary D'Annunzio (Anna Paquin), but is afraid to act on it, fearful that such a decision will lead to him being fired from his job, or even worse, arrested. Frank, on the other hand, is on the opposite end of the character spectrum, he's a good-looking, rich Wall Street trader, who, unlike, his nebbish friend, has never had a problem with the ladies. Also unlike Jacob, Frank is much more forthright in his feelings about life, and his friend's impending incarceration, "He profited from other's misery and he deserves what he gets," he tells Jacob. Norton's character also has a girlfriend, Naturelle, played by Rosario Dawson, whom he believes might have been the one who sold him out to the police. There's also his father, played by Brian Cox, a retired fireman who owns a bar on Staten Island which caters primarily to fire fighters. Each of these people, in their own way, blames them self for what is happening to Monty.

The story propels forward when the three childhood friends gather in a nightclub, with Jacob's student, Mary, and Monty's girlfriend, Naturelle, tagging along. It is what happens in this club, on this night, that provides the core of the movie. The accusations that are made, the favor that is asked, the choices that are acted upon, and the truth that is revealed, will stay with these characters long after the 25th hour has widdled and gone away. Will these friends be willing to enact Doyle's Law, in a figurative sense, and save Monty Brogan, the symbolic beaten dog?

25th Hour is also memorable for grappling openly with the aftermath of September 11th. Lee skillfully immerses it into the subtext of the story. Referenced in pictures of fire fighters who lost their lives at the World Trade Center, which adorn the walls of the local sports bar and the uptown offices of the traders; to the mention of Bin Laden in a particularly biting commentary by Monty; to Frank Slaughtery's defiant refusal to move from his apartment, which sits overlooking the ruins of the Twin Towers. Director Spike Lee, never known for being subtle, thrusts these images, and his obvious anger about it, into the viewers lap and compels them to deal with it. Also memorable is the venomous diatribe by Norton into a bathroom mirror, where he verbally attacks every group in New York regardless of ethnicity, sexual preference or socioeconomic standing. Not even the church or JC himself, is safe from his tirade, which ends when Monty realizes the only person he has to blame for his predicament, is the one staring back at him in the mirror.

The whole film plays in a subdued, almost depressing, tone. There are no laughs to be had, no falsely engineered moments where the characters break bread, and cry, and get all remorseful -- none of that. We feel as Monty feels: perplexed, distressed, unsure of those things to come and angry for how he happened to arrive at this place, and moment, in his life -- his last 25 hours.
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If you do something wrong in life,you've only got yourself to blame.Right?
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs

Spike Lee is a truly revolutionary director in terms of the presentation of his films and the motivations behind his stories.Though the genre and content of their stories differ fairly enormously,he is in fact a lot like a latter day Alfred Hitchcock in terms of how he presents his films,like the characters involved and the inspiration behind the premise.

The premise here is a deeply original,inspiring and intriguing one,concerning Marty (Edward Norton) a drug dealer who is about to go to prison for seven years.The film follows him around on his last day of freedom,and,rather than waste too much time on a hindering,unnecessary sub-plot concerning his attempts to find the person who ratted him out,wisely opts to be an engaging character study of a man who,though able to acknowledge he knew full well what he was doing and the criminal life he was getting himself involved in,is still able to question the possible circumstances and immoralities that may have helped his descent into crime.

The two main people who help organise his last free night are his childhood buddies Frank (Barry Pepper) a sleazy stockbroker who plays with people's investments and Jakob (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) a repressed drama teacher,who,throughout the course of the film,gives in to a lustful temptation toward a feisty student of his named Mary (Anna Paquin).Though Marty is the one facing the lengthy jail sentence,the moral dilemma the film constantly raises is whether he is actually any more of a criminal than his two best mates,who are really as equally manipulative and sly as he is.The film brilliantly contrieves to present these characters to the audience,and have them develop their own opinion on what their fates should be.

The driving point of the film however,is condemnation.At the beginning,we see Marty reveal his sensitive side to the audience by rescuing a stray dog who appears to have been discarded by it's owner who,though vicious and nasty toward him,he still finds it in his heart to adopt and love,despite the protestations of his large friend.But then the opening credits ensue,and it's a dark,droning opening theme and that prsents the tone of the movie.Then,straight afterwards,we're shown Marty's not-so-sensitive side,as he trys to brush off a man he turned into a drug addict.Lee intelligently and absorbingly weighs out Marty's good points and bad points,and shows that,despite dealing in a criminal profession,he's not all bad and can be quite nice at times.Yet we're also shown a man who wasted all his potential.If he'd tried a little harder,he could've been a doctor or a chef,his father (Brian Cox) points out to him.We also see that he was once a very gifted basketball player,and could possibly have pursued that further,but alas,didn't.He also tries to blame everyone and everything else for his current predicament,until finally accepting that he was in control of his own destiny and must now pay the price.At the end,he is given the choice:accept he did wrong,pay his debt and go and serve his time in jail,or turn and run.The decision he makes will determine the audience's final impression of him.

It does drag a little towards the end,but generally speaking,Spike Lee is a master of his craft and this is a strong contender for the first great film of 2003.****
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A different kind of movie..
Kungloa24 October 2007
This great picture by the greatly discussed Spike Lee is one of a kind. What really makes this shine through the constant rubble being made by either incompetent directors or inexperienced ones is first of all, the incredible acting and for that you need great characters that are well thought-out and second comes the frighteningly real and tragic story. Which Lee handles with utmost care and outstanding precision.

Lee's trademarks are present here and the cinematography suits the feel of the movie very well. The final product feels very polished, but true to the story and it is those small things that some of us notice, those details that separate a veteran from a novice. There are some weak points, but they are only minor.

The acting here is top notch. Norton convinces once again and makes for a great heartfelt performance and Hoffman is equally impressive. However, I was completely blown away by Pepper. Barry Pepper. He 'was' continuously Frank and very consistent in his acting. The scene where he breaks down and Norton thanks him in a way for what he has done is one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen. It felt so authentic.

Furthermore, I can keep writing about how great this movie is or how good the acting, but eventually you have to decide for yourself. I can only recommend it.

So, I say to you, if you can, see this movie as soon as possible.
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What would you do on your last day of freedom?
chriscoon17 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Wow, what a great movie. That's the first thing that passed through my head when the credits started rolling. This is the story of a man's last day of freedom before starting a 7-year prison sentence. Funny, how they almost never (if ever) use the words "prison" or "jail".

Edward Norton is great as Monty, and so is the inimitable Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays one of his best friends. I always enjoy watching both these actors. Hoffman plays a prep-school English teacher who has the hots for one of his students. They run into each other at a nightclub where a big party is thrown for Monty on his last night of freedom. She's not innocent but she is naive. They have an intense moment together at the club.

The movie is not really about prison or even what Monty's crime was. It's about all the things Monty has to do to wrap up his life before "going away". It's about the things people do to get what they want. It's about the realities of "going away" and the difficult emotions of all those involved. There's a brilliant scene where Monty's deepest hate and rage surface, that is very reminiscent of a scene in another great Spike Lee Joint, Do the Right Thing. He basically says F everybody, and then at the end of the scene, F himself. He has nobody else to blame for anything. He alone has ruined his life.

This movie made me think about what I would do if I were in his position. How would your parents react if you were going to prison? How would you say bye to your mom or dad? How about your spouse? And your closest friend? What about your dog?

It is a thoughtful film that is not about one particular thing. It does not try to get in your face with a single message, but has many messages.
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A very intelligent film that I just couldn't care about.
imdb-195488 June 2008
The cast are excellent, and all deliver perfectly good performances but the script is a little lack-lustre giving them very little to work with.

It is a detailed view of the time before a likable criminal goes to prison for the first time, showing his fears and his friends fears and all the various emotions and guilt surrounding him.

The feeling of paranoia and fear is demonstrated well by Norton with a surprising turn near the end, the film is always consistent and believable.

I just didn't enjoy it. It is believable but not moving, there are dark bits but nothing exceptional and there is no tension.

It would be harsh to say it's a bad film since it achieves what is sets out to do which is show that going to prison can be a terrifying experience, but it just found it too detached.
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A Haunting Dose of Reality
vanghensyn16 July 2003
Having seen Spike Lee's "25th Hour", I must say I was pleased. Lee's plot is both involving and heartfelt, showing the essence of reality. His script is fresh, yet somewhat slow in spots. His characters shine, however, in a truly believeable tale of consequence. Edward Norton, in another masterful performance, shows an almost frightening level of genuine human emotion as the protagonist Montgomery Brogan. The supporting cast consisting of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, and veteran Brian Cox provide a solid foundation that allows Lee's story to flow freely. While most would consider this tale a literal one, take note: It is quite apparent, through subtlety and the rather obvious "restroom mirror scene" that Spike Lee has a message he wants to get across. What I think makes "25th Hour" so appealing on a theoretical level is the fact that his message is surprisingly open-ended; allowing the individual viewer to decide what he or she wants to retain from the film. This is a genuine film experience; a haunting dose of reality.
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Figure Skating
tedg1 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

There are two ways to look at figure skating. You can judge it as a matter of difficulty or a matter of grace. It used to be the grace that trumped. I watch figure skating and films because of how they enrich my lives. Sometimes a skater - or an actor for that matter - needs to do something that requires great skill in order to deliver something wonderful. And when they do that, it is a double value.

But the world of figure skating - if you have been following it - has gone over to the dark side. Now, skaters will be judged on whether they do something difficult. The more difficult, the higher the score. Grace and coherence of the routine is out the window, considered too subjective to judge.

Some people are making films the same way. The recent `Troy' had no grace at all, merely its scope to impress us. In this case - indeed in all Ed Norton films - the justification is purely that we have an actor doing difficult things.

There is no grace here, no transportation to insight, no inner world, no coherence. The entire project is there to support Ed and his `difficult moves.'

The end is supposed to be a simple take-away: a ten minute future that is yanked back. Much more shocking than this is how muted is our man Spike. His flowing visual talent is usually locked into some stupid sentiments, grace in a dummy suit. Here he is subdued (except for the dollied `sway' segment) and actually tries to make a film. Too bad is vacuous, but this time it isn't his fault.

The real actor here is Hoffman, but he is buried in another of his stammering characters.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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zetes24 January 2010
A forceful film, but not necessarily a good one. It is extremely heavy-handed, but the subject matter is never really as dour as it seems to think it is. Basically, the story revolves around a drug dealer (Edward Norton) who is going to be taken to prison 25 hours from when the film opens. This last day is spent reconnecting with his two best friends (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper), his girlfriend (Rosario Dawson), whom he believes turned him in and his father (Brian Cox), as well as cutting ties to the Russian gangsters who were his bosses. All this takes place with the backdrop of September 11th. Oh, does Lee ever try hard to make that metaphor work. This was the first major film that directly referenced the terrorist attacks, and it probably seemed pretty strong for it at the time (over a year later). But, really, any metaphor Lee thinks he's making never really makes too much sense. I've seen people suggest Lee is metaphorically blaming the U.S. for 9/11. I doubt that's true, but it's an easily argued point. I really don't think Lee knows exactly what he wants to say here. The film is so oppressive in its dourness that it gets old pretty fast. The thing is, Norton's going to prison for seven years. That sucks. A lot. But, holy Hell, is this film obsessed with the idea that, the second Norton shows up in prison, it's going to be non-stop gang rape for the next seven years. Of course he's going to have to kick someone's ass the first day he's going to get there. That'll keep his butthole safe for a few hours. Seriously, folks, this stuff is nothing but movie clichés. It becomes almost laughable as 25th Hour goes on how obsessed Norton is with getting penetrated. So, really, the film is pretty thin. The heft that Lee shoves into his film never seems deserved. All that said, though, it's not a half bad film. Norton is excellent (though not especially believable as a drug dealer). I didn't like either Pepper or Hoffman - I've always hated the former and the latter just brings his standard sad-sack performance to the mix, which thankfully he's moved beyond by now. Dawson is pretty good, as is Cox. There are a lot of very well directed moments, but I honestly think Lee's done better in this decade, and certainly much better in the previous two.
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A 25 hour talkathon
CineCritic251710 November 2013
Norton plays 'Monty' Brogan who's reflecting on his life in the last hours before going to jail for 7 years. What the film lacks in plot it makes up with rambling conversations Norton has with various people, including himself. It's a mystery why anyone should care. Norton's character isn't particularly interesting, likable or even fleshed out and neither is anyone else in the movie. His predicament seems merely a given. Three hours of random flashbacks, drawn-out conversation and barely audible bar scenes does not make for an engaging pastime even though the film sports some very nice visuals. The constant music in almost every scene is probably meant to provide the intensity and significance the uninteresting screenplay was lacking. This is one of Lee's worst.
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Just wanted it to end
juliehampton201212 November 2018
Long, slow and boring, despite good acting. Music too melodramatic for the story. It was 2+ hours of talking, rambling, reflecting, flashbacks, which led up to a big nothing.
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Anger, Regret & Fractured Relationships
seymourblack-17 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
During the opening credits of "25th Hour", the tall beams of light that emanate from the site in New York City where the World Trade Center once stood, provide the drama that follows with a strong sense of time and place and a very recognisable subtext. Its story about a small group of people who, after an unexpected event, are left feeling shell-shocked and fearing that things may never be the same again, is filled with moments of sadness, regret and anger as well as an overwhelming sense of loss.

Convicted drug dealer Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) spends his last 24 hours of freedom dealing with his unfinished business and meeting up with his father and friends one last time before he begins a seven year prison sentence. During this period he thinks about the raid on his apartment during which three DEA agents found large quantities of drugs and money hidden in his sofa and strongly suspects that his Puerto Rican girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) was responsible for tipping off the authorities. He's also very frightened about serving time in what he knows is a very tough and overcrowded institution and genuinely fears that he won't be able to survive the experience.

Monty's father James (Brian Cox), is a bar owner and a retired fire-fighter who became an alcoholic after his wife's death. He was threatened with losing his business because of the debts that he incurred because of his drinking and it was only the money that Monty was able to give him that saved him from going under. He knows how the money that saved his business was earned and is burdened with a great deal of shame, guilt and regret about what happened.

After Monty and his father finish their meal together, Monty meets up with his two best friends, high school teacher Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Wall Street broker Frank (Barry Pepper) at a nightclub and they're also joined by one of Jacob's students called Mary (Anna Paquin) and Naturelle. On this last night that the friends spend together, they all try to keep things as affable and normal as possible but the underlying tensions and anxieties that they all share inevitably surface from time to time.

Jacob and Frank are facing the loss of a friendship that they have shared with Monty since they were children and although Jacob likes to think that everything can carry on again as normal in seven years time, Frank is far more sceptical. Naturelle is losing the man she loves and on their last day together has had to cope with the tensions caused by the suspicions that Monty and his friends share about her. Monty's father is also fearful about whether it will be possible for him and his son to resume their relationship after another seven years have elapsed.

In one of the most memorable parts of the movie, Monty looks at his reflection in a mirror and launches into an angry rant during which he expresses his hatred of Osama Bin Laden and almost every sector of the population of New York but as this cathartic endeavour comes to a close, his greatest anger is reserved for himself. He hates his own stupidity that led him to hide the drugs and money in his apartment and also to tell other people where he kept them. He also hates himself for the greed that led him to continue in the drug dealing business for as long as he did.

"25th Hour" is a powerful and thoughtful piece that like Terence Blanchard's marvellous score has a really haunting quality. Edward Norton is tremendous as the villain who never expresses any regret for all the human misery his drug dealing must've caused and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper are also outstanding.
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Scattered, overlong, some fine performances.
eebmtl24 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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Spike Lee strikes again...
mentalcritic14 December 2003
I have seen one other Spike Lee film before this one, which I fast forwarded through three quarters of. The film still made the same amount of sense, and I didn't have to put up with the wretched dialogue or poor scene composition, either. I don't quit watching films without strong provocation, but you know a film is in trouble when Ed Norton cannot save it, and you're still bored after watching Anna Paquin do her usual magic for the second time.

The presentation of Spike Lee as this brilliant social commentator would be all well and fine if the theory wasn't shot to bits by the quality of his actual films. As an author, I have to say that the film studio that insists on him directing any adaptations of my work will never do business with me again, not even for a short story. His films are tedious, badly paced, and make me seriously reconsider whether I want to live in a world where people this utterly devoid of talent can be successful.

It's a sad reflection on the fear of not being politically correct that he is still directing feature films instead of shooting episodes of Cops, which his unimaginative camera use, deadpan direction, and poor editing would be far more appropriate.
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Nothing special
bandw17 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Monty Brogan deals drugs, gets ratted on, and nets a seven year prison sentence. It would seen that some people feel that by tweaking a few of the initial conditions in stories in this genre an original and creative movie will pop out. Not so, at least in this case, with the tweak being that we follow Monty in the 24 hours prior to his reporting to prison.

As Monty, Edward Norton turns in a performance that is what you would expect from him in this role. The talents of Philip Seymour Hoffman are wasted as Monty's nerdy English teacher friend. The only actor whose performance goes beyond the adequate is Brian Cox as Monty's father.

There are one or two interesting scenes, but that is not enough to carry the movie. The scene where Monty is talking to himself in the mirror where he vents his spleen against every sexual, racial, and class stereotype, winding up with himself, is interesting and the fantasy that his dad spins about an escape at the end is well done. I did like that the assurance "we will be there for you when you get out," offered by Monty's friends was offset by the recognition by all concerned that Monty would not be the same person when he got out that he was before going in.

A lot of efforts were made to add some gravitas to the happenings, but they seemed forced to me. The cleanup of the Twin Towers site is used as the backdrop for some scenes, with bulldozers plying the ground and the vertical blue searchlights piercing the night sky. Such scenes provoke strong emotions for most Americans, particularly for those who lived through that time. But what was the purpose for having those scenes in this movie besides exploitation? Evoking such tragedy in a story that is no tragedy seems cheap. Scenes filmed using unusual color palettes, odd camera angles, or double takes were more distracting than illuminating. The thing that I found most irritating was the score--most of the time it worked at cross purposes to the mood, calling attention to it rather than the action on screen. The score tries to produce a heavy mood that simply is not there in the story.

Many scenes, like the ones in the nightclub, go on too long--those scenes accumulate to the entire movie's going on too long.
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What a yawn
Lupercali2 April 2004
It's not very often that I get 100 minutes into a movie before I turn it off out of sheer boredom, but that's what happened here. You should, then, regard this review as provisional, as I may have missed whatever redeeming qualities were in the last 24 minutes.

Generally I quite like Spike Lee films. He's made a couple I like a lot, and one or two I don't care for, but this is the first time he's simply bored me.

I swear to God, up to the 90 minute mark, which is where I stopped, NOTHING 'happens' in this film, other than the protagonist being arrested. Narrative! You have to have some narrative drive, or now matter how deep or textured the thing is, it just won't work, unless perhaps it just has overwhelming visuals, like 'Baraka'.

I won't be automatically renting something from now on just because it has 'a Spike Lee Joint' on the cover.
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One of the worst most boring movies I've ever slept through.
acearms8 February 2004
This one was so exciting that I woke up three times to rewind to where I dosed off in order to see the entire disappointment. While three of my favorite actors, Norton, Hoffman and Pepper played the main characters along with Brian Cox, the movie was not that good. They all did their part to hold it together, but in the end it didn't help. The main character, played by Norton, is trying to turn his life around in one day after being tapped for possession of illegal drugs and on his way to prison. He suspects his girl friend for turning him in only to find out it was a close "friend." His connections with the drug scene set it straight and take care of the guy when Norton's character can bring himself to kill the guy. Not to get carried away describing the moribund aspects of this one just accept the fact some might find it a good movie, but for me its a total disaster. Don't waste your time.1/10
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The First New York City Post-9/11 Movie
noralee20 January 2003
My teen-age son recommended "25th Hour," saying, "It's the first movie that really shows what New York was like after 9/11 for New Yorkers."

David Benioff adapted the script from his own novel originally published early in 2001, so he and Spike Lee added the key layer by making the introspective focus of post-9/11 significant, and that makes all the difference in raising this film to a moving level a la "Casablanca" (about how individual doings aren't worth a hill of beans compared to what else is going on in the world, etc.).

The film opens with extensive shots of the memorial lights where the towers were, and the camera is constantly picking up memorials and tributes behind conversations, including one scene in a firefighters' bar and another in an apartment window overlooking Ground Zero, to flags on SUV antennas to a closing in memoriam and use of Bruce Springsteen's "The Force" over the credits (Spike thanks him as "Da Boss").

Like Bruce does in "The Rising," Terence Blanchard incorporates Arabic singing in an evocative score. The score becomes as much about the new visibly multi-ethnic New York City as Gershwin stood for Woody Allen's "Manhattan."

Spike Lee is still a bit heavy-handed in dealing with white ethnic groups -- here stereotypes of Russian gangsters and Irish drunks almost replace his Italian ones from the ham-fisted "Summer of Sam."

But in the extensive, theatrical, illustrated monologues the characters rage on about the changes in New York City and escaping it, he gives them the post-9/11 gift of final understanding, even as each "stays a New Yorker."

Through one character, we also see the white collar parallel to the streets, the aggressive, upwardly striving atmosphere of trading rooms, similarly shown in "Boiler Room," tempered by the knowledge that so many of those who died in the towers worked just like that.

The acting by Ed Norton, Rosario Dawson, Barry Pepper, Brian Cox and Philip Seymour Hoffman is very strong, in what is in effect a New York take on "Dead Man Walking" as all gradually come to terms with a crime and its impact on their lives.

Weakest is the central meeting point as some private school they are all connected to and gravitate around as the locus of their "Glory Days" as Lee seems to be saluting Woody Allen in another way by adding in what now seems to be the obligatory jailbait in short skirts temptation.
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Horrible and Ridiculous
slinky-820 December 2002
This film was absurd and traveled nowhere for over two hours. I saw a prescreening and then just laughed reading the few laudatory reviews claiming what a triumph the film was but never stating any reason why. There are a couple of truths to what they say.

Monty is a "super nice guy" drug dealer, as though any of us has ever met a character like this. How he got involved is never explored. He just has 24 hours to analyze his life before he goes to jail... but he does little of this and his activities are surprisingly trite.

The film is entirely comprised of trite subplots that are never explored nor properly resolved with situations that are not realistic. There is the question of who turned Monty in (villian identified but it made no sense nor was there a reason why this even happened.) There is the "self-hating Jew" who lusts after an underage student. Why this is in the film (and why the character has to be Jewish and self-hating) is unexplored but I can only wonder the motivation given that this is a Spike Lee film. There is the White Irish stockbroker who has absolutely no morals, chases every skirt, but still believes righteously that his best friend should go to jail for selling drugs to high school kids. Say what? Then there is the act that Monty asks his stockbroker friend to perform. Why? I have absolutely no idea.

I could go on and on about the gratuitous shots of the World Trade Center, the lack of any exploration of the relationship with his girlfriend, but why bother. This is the kind of film where critics will praise because of an association with the filmmaker but read closely. Nobody can really identify why they think this film is redeeming -- it isn't. It's a sad, wasted opportunity that deceives the audience through it's tagline of "changing your life in a day" that it has any substance whatsoever. A film like this is the reason why of Spike Lee's 25+ films, you've only heard of 1 or 2.
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The Revaluation of the Life of a Drug Dealer By Himself Before Going to Jail
claudio_carvalho7 August 2004
Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) is a drug dealer, arrested by DEA, who will go to the prison on the next day for a seven-years penalty. He spends his last night with his friends reevaluating his life, the chances he lost, his bad judgement and prejudice against persons, until the next morning, when his father will take him to jail. I expected much more of this movie, based on the name of Spike Lee and the excellent cast leaded by Edward Norton on the credits. However, the story has a great flaw: it shows only the last night of Monty, when he regrets for wasting the chances he had along his life, creating an empathy of the viewer with his character. However, the guy was a drug dealer, who bought an expensive apartment, jewels for his mate, traveled to Porto Rico with her and having a huge package of money at home, meaning he sold lots of drugs for addicted persons. Therefore, he is a regretted scum. The story has no relationship with September 11th, except for being in New York, after this incident and showing the remains of the World Trade Center. There is a very important sequence on the DVD, when the Russian mobsters discuss Monty's situation, that was deleted from the story. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): `A Última Noite' (`The Last Night')
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Linda_S15 March 2009
I had such high expectations for this film. Disappointment does not begin to address the failure of this film. As a fan of Mr Norton's it is very hard to not enjoy something he appears in, yet this Spike Lee joint is a pathetic film. The dialogue is banal, puerile and pathetic. The direction, if there is any, is incoherent.

I think, by comparison, Revenge of the Nerds comes across as more "hardcore" and "street-wise".

I don't know how this film found a producer unless Lee put up his own money.

What a waste. A truly gifted actor is always at the mercy of a script and a director.

I hope this film will be overlooked in the resume of the careers of all concerned.
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25th Hour (2002) : A Dog's Life or Taps for a Drug Dealer
deanofrpps3 August 2007
Warning: 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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