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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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If you do something wrong in life,you've only got yourself to blame.Right?
davideo-228 April 2003
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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Best movie I've ever seen
irotas20 September 2004
Honestly it's the best movie I've seen in my 25 years. I've seen it a dozen times now, and I love it more every time. The plot is perfect, the acting is perfect, the cinematography is perfect. The ending segment with Monty and his father is about the most powerful I've ever seen.

So many unforgettable scenes in the movie:

  • Frank & Monty at the club the last night

  • The "make me ugly" scene

  • Monty and his dad in the car

If you haven't seen it, go get it right now. You can't miss this one.
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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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Don't underestimate this movie...
nocsha20049 August 2007
Some people will tell you this movie is not what they had expected but these are the same people who didn't get fight club. Just watch this movie and you'll understand..... The soundtrack throughout the movie does NOT distract you from the movie, hey maybe you were expecting THE English PATIENT#@$%, This is one of Ed Norton's finest performances. The side actors were very good as well but he really shines. Brian Cox does a fantastic job as his father. Without him, the movie wouldn't be told right. This is a movie that takes patience to understand. Not for anyone who wants to change the channel after the first 3 minutes.

Every man, woman and child should see the desert once in their life. That line just sticks to me so good that I wish every movie after that had a line like that. It's kind of like "Unfortunately no one can be told what the matrix is, you have to see it for yourself". Kind of like that, maybe I'm going too far.

But those who get this movie, it'll stay with you for a very long time, I promise you that. The ending alone is too good, forget about the mirror scene...
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Rated too high
christpunchers8 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
***Spoilers**** Spike usually doesn't make bad movies, he makes decent ones, and then you have the REALLY nice ones (Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever).

25th Hour felt half eaten OVER-GLAZED donut somebody bought from New York that was chucked into the garbage bin from last weekend. Riddled with clichés, Hollywood stereotypes (Endless American flags and shots of firemen, all Eastern Europeans talk and act like how you'd expect them to be in Hollywood, there's no difference between being Russian and Ukrainian, East Indians can't be anything else other than cabbies, Irish people all drink and want to own bars, all stock brokers are stealing your money), an awfully lame dream sequence where "Old" Norton's make-up was a joke, and "Grandma" Dawnson's makeup was virtually nonexistent. The casting for their grown up children don't even reflect the right mixture of races.

Far too many predictable boring subplots, all shot from your usual Spike Lee camera angles. Spike: "Oh! Look at me! I'll create an interesting color palette by putting everyone in a nightclub so people will forget they're watching another pointless scene".

Now there's nothing wrong with trying hard to make a good film but when the story is weak, you can't make it any better by covering it up with a non-related backdrop. Putting two actors in a room where it overlooks the remains of the World Trade Center does not make their pseudo-philosophical yet very pointless dialog anywhere close to being interesting or actually philosophical; it's just a sign of trying too hard to put an importance on some mindless rambling. Looks nice, but that's about it.

Spike, in the past, has done a good job at taking jabs at racial issues. Issues that has to do with a film's certain era. Here however, he throws in 5 minutes worth of racial slurring, even though it's unrelated to the film's eternity, for the sake of being dramatic. It's almost as if he's venting out his own prejudices on the big screen, then tells us "Hey I'm only joking!" by having Norton correct his own thoughts. All the hate added nothing to the already wafer thin film, it only sunk it down another notch.

I think Spike must have had some bad run in's with people of other colors, especially the Koreans. In all his films he displays them as the "no-speaky-English" type who all own corner grocery stores. What did any of that have to do with Norton's last day before prison? Older man is attracted to a teenager, some guy who is "evil" because he wears a suit to work and makes more money than your average joe, European immigrants are nothing but two dimensional criminals, cops are bad. Endless clichés, perhaps all this would have worked if the film was made 15 years ago but for something that's from 2003, I expected a lot more from Spike.

I could go on and on but one thing that really bother me why are they everyone all so overly dramatic about Norton going to prison? 7 years is a long time but it's definitely not a life-time. Prison is tough but the way they played it up, it felt like Norton was going to be executed.

This film was Luke-warm at best. And that's on a very good day, where one is positive and generous with any movie. Overall 25th Hour does not amount to much, its runtime could have been perfectly compressed into a mere 25 minutes. There was no reason for it to be made, all the actors in this should be a little bit shameful to have pick up such easy paychecks. I'm voting it down to a 1/10 only because it's rated much higher than it deserved to be, which is no more than a 4/10. Each Seinfeld episode weighted in for about 22 minutes, but at least a good chunk of them were quite enjoyable to watch.
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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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if you saw the movie, read on; if you didn't see the movie, consider yourself lucky
m0j0deuce5 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers ahead, don't read if you're easily offended etc etc.

I didn't read the book, and don't plan on reading it if it's anything like the movie. Why does Spike Lee add those weird double take effects? I can only see one scene where it might have been appropriate. I don't need to know that the director knows how to add that effect.

There is NO character development . . . NONE. There is NO plot development . . . NONE.

I can understand the ending if the movie builds up to Norton's character deciding to flee. But he doesn't; and at the end of the movie, I ask myself why did I sit through 2 hours to peek into 12 hours of someone's plain and ordinary life. The flashbacks are sprinkled throughout the movie horribly.

The only poignant moment is when the father describes his escape and fugitive life. That's the only time when I thought if I could stay under the radar.

I'm an Ed Norton fan, but his acting is becoming quite repetitive. You see his 'The Score' character and 'Fight Club' character recurring in this movie.

In all, this was quite disappointing.
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A little too much.
Fong_Chun_Kin18 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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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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A powerful and haunting parable.
josevcutts12 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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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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A movie about so many things, they add up to nothing.
Mr_Koi16 April 2003
This movie is about so many things (or at least it tries to be), that it utterly fails. It's about remorse, paranoia, lust, greed, fear, racism, terrorism, ... but all in a belittling and moralising way. There are a few good scenes in it, but what's with all the WTC stuff? I guess I don't get it because I'm not a New Yorker (and not an American), but when they go for cheap emo-drama with yet some more references to the 9/11 attacks, that's really annoying. For me, the movie was a complete waste of time. There were no new or refreshing ideas in it, the soundtrack was irritating at times, I didn't feel connected to any of the characters, and it was a waste of talented actors.
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I wasted 2 hours of my life
karl_burns1 October 2008
When my girlfriend saw Ed Norton on the cover, she begged me to rent it. I figured Spike Lee is a decent director, and I've enjoyed plenty of Ed Norton films, so why not. The film has some interesting cinematic angles, and some cool lighting, but after that the movie (I cannot call it a film for that would imply art) had no other redeeming qualities.

Norton was decent in his role. Hoffman wasn't very believable. Peeper was believable as a sleezy Wall Street guy (I should know). Dawson was good, but not memorable.

The plot was boring (at best, if you convince yourself a plot even existed), and the much anticipated "shocking" and "surpirse ending" promised by other reviewers doesn't even exist! My girlfriend's crush on Ed Norton couldn't even convince her to continue watching after 45 minutes. That's how bad this movie is.
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Touches deeply straight into your heart....
LakshmiKanth_Vizzu4 May 2011
I've never seen a movie anything like 25th hour..

It is the story of drug dealer who got busted and had only 24 hours before he serves a long 7 year sentence...

This is one of the most disturbing movie ever....

I've cried for only two movies till now , 25th Hour is one of them... It will haunt you many years..

The movie has perfect start and has a shocking ending....

One another best thing about this movie is background score...it makes the movie to maintain tempo...

stunning performance from Edward Norton , powerful drama from rest of the actors , good background score , touching visuals , of course humor is there .. It is the best Spike Lee can offer.. what else do you want from a good movie?

If you didn't watched it yet , go check it out this instant masterpiece...

(Caution : This movie contain elements which will haunts you many years)

My Rating 9/10
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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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It insists upon itself. Could have been so much better.
moyer2027918 August 2013
Warning: 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.

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