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Overall Rating
4.34

Awesome60.87%
Worth A Look: 27.33%
Just Average: 3.11%
Pretty Crappy: 2.48%
Sucks: 6.21%

10 reviews, 101 user ratings


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25th Hour
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by Eugene Novikov

"Fuck this whole city and everyone in it."
4 stars

"25th Hour" is such a remarkable story, told so well, that it is tempting to declare it the best film of the year, shower it with the most effusive of praise, and place it in the pantheon of Spike Lee Joints. There is so much here that's great, that's funny, that's devastating, that's moving on a level that few films this past year have reached; the only 2002 release that touched me more deeply was probably "Rabbit-Proof Fence." It is difficult for me, both as a writer and film enthusiast, to adulterate my hosannas for a movie that packs such an emotional wallop.

But, as they say, that's the way the prison walls crumble. 25th Hour is a mixed bag, hampered by a half-assed attempt to address the September 11th tragedy within a story that is universal and pure. The screenplay is by David Benioff, who also wrote the book of the same name (plus a definite article) in early 2001, before New York City was rocked by two rogue airliners. It's good to see a director refuse to ignore the cataclysm, but when the opening title sequence has the World Trade Center "beams of light" memorial as its centerpiece, and the movie is later interrupted by a long shot of Ground Zero, it begs an unanswerable question: why?

With that unpleasantness out of the way, I can focus on the film's virtues, which are many. Virtue number one: Edward Norton. Throughout his illustrious six-year career, he has been typecast in the best possible way, almost invariably playing bright, confident, quietly dangerous young men. His presence lends credibility to any plot, no matter how ludicrous; I'd like to see him do sci-fi, because the plausibility questions that usually accompany the genre would probably go away. He is perfectly cast here as Monty Brogan, a mid-level drug dealer in NYC who finally gets busted and is living out his final day of freedom before being forced to take responsibility for his actions with a seven-year prison sentence.

Understandably, he has concerns. His options, as outlined by his best buddy Frank (Barry Pepper), are few and none too appealing: basically, he can try to run, or he can go to jail. Seven years doesn't seem like an eternity, but Monty is a slight, good-looking fellow; in other words, the kind that's liable to face difficulty in a maximum-security penitentiary.

Monty's impending departure is tough on the people in his life, particularly his much-younger Puerto Rican girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson), who has spent the length of their relationship defending its legitimacy. Monty is tipped off that his girl might have been the one who made that fateful call to the police. She, along with Frank and mutual friend Jakob (Philip Seymour Hoffman), plan a last night on the town for Monty. Jakob, a socially and sexually repressed high school teacher, has an encounter with one of his students (Anna Paquin) when the four of them go to a popular club.

The movie has a loose, naturalistic feel about it, a distinctive rhythm that kept me absolutely riveted. Lee completely ignores the plotting and pacing conventions of any and every genre, fracturing the chronology without warning, going off on unexpected tangents with supporting characters, filming takes that last endless minuntes, giving us enough emotional climaxes for a half-dozen films. The aforementioned club sequence is incredible, building tension with dialogue, gestures and use of background. It helps that Benioff shows a remarkable flair for writing nimble, convincing, often very funny dialogue.

Through 25th Hour's last thirty minutes, I had a lump in my throat the size of a pomegranate. The film crushes us with a mind-blowing scene under a park bridge, then gives us a few moments of hope only to plunge again into despair. The final act contains a great performance by the reliable Brian Cox, who has with Norton a genuine, tender father-son rapport. I have heard some call their scenes together "schmaltzy," but they're filled with a pitch-black irony that made "schmaltz" the last thing from my mind.

It's been argued that Lee is making a political statement here, with September 11th metaphors all around, but I'm choosing to ignore it. It's silly. 25th Hour would have been a masterpiece if only Spike Lee had left Benioff's powerful story the hell alone.

(Review reprinted from FilmBlather.com)

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6463&reviewer=419
originally posted: 03/04/07 06:40:51
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell a potent look at a mans last days of freedom 4 stars
6/13/12 tommy yes spike lee's masterpiece.....one of many... 5 stars
3/02/11 chris c A somber look at a man's last days of freedom shadowed by the tragedy of 9/11 5 stars
2/02/11 isaiah one of my three favorite movies 5 stars
6/12/10 PAUL SHORTT TURGID BUT POWERFUL AND WELL ACTED 3 stars
12/20/08 Tony Transformed the way I look at justice and redemption. 5 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner This ones ok. 3 stars
5/19/08 jointz Ed Norton transcends being just an actor in 25th Hour. Spike really outdid himself! 5 stars
3/10/08 Leumas Spectacular 5 stars
3/02/08 ladavies I could watch this movie over and over again...and have. 5 stars
10/23/07 lee Hanson What a powerful film. It is flawless from beginning to end. 5 stars
6/10/07 fools♫gold I related to everyone but Norton's character until the beautiful end. 5 stars
5/30/07 ES alright, not much there 3 stars
10/20/06 Billychic Loved the movie - however, I'm still trying to figure out the ending... 4 stars
8/29/06 scott amazing movie, emotion packed, interesting 4 stars
3/27/06 john martin one of the best american movies 5 stars
8/07/05 E This confusing, plot-less piece of crap is overrated 2 stars
8/05/05 Naruto COMPLETE NONSENSE!!! The reviewers are mad 1 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma A long, dull, and uninteresting movie 2 stars
6/12/05 Hack-SAW The rating says it all... 5 stars
6/08/05 Agent Sands Possibly Spike Lee's very best movie next to Do the Right Thing. 5 stars
5/10/05 Simon A movie as carried by its fantastic cast-performances as any. Powerful. 5 stars
2/06/05 bodi Najlepszy fim jaki iwdzialem 5 stars
12/20/04 DM Powerful, but Lee gets caught up in his own excesses 4 stars
10/29/04 payvand one of my all-time favorites, unbelievable monologues, unbelievable performance by norton! 5 stars
10/13/04 Steve Newman 30 minutes too long - wuld not watch again 3 stars
8/27/04 Billy GRRRRRRRRRRRREAT! 5 stars
8/11/04 kc norton is great 5 stars
5/31/04 Big Russian So Spike, so different, so good, great casting 5 stars
5/22/04 vasilis I LIKED IT A LOT 5 stars
4/14/04 Charlene Javier Another good film from Lee. 4 stars
4/14/04 rojo Great acting and directing, absorbing drama. 5 stars
4/14/04 alice Sucked bigtime. Forced myself to see it but could'nt watch it till the end soo boring... 1 stars
4/11/04 y2mckay Norton gives great performance, film holds interest until pretentious wrap-up 4 stars
2/18/04 Lauren The best movie i have ever seen! Edward Norton is the best of the best 5 stars
2/01/04 This girl Freaking fantastic. Poignant and provocative and some great visual flair. 5 stars
1/23/04 Ben Carasso A verist impression of New York and is dwellers' Yhe monologur in front of tke mirror is ai 5 stars
1/19/04 Chuckie Atkins Jr. I don't get how it relates to 9/11, except it acknowldeges that it happened. 4 stars
1/16/04 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) Excellent in all departments. Another great one for both Spike and Norton. Kick-ass. 5 stars
1/01/04 OnlyChild Love Ed, but hate the movie. Slow moving and boring 1 stars
12/24/03 BOB MORRIS GREAT FROM BEGINNING TO END,ONE OF THOSE FILMS YOU HATE TO SEE END. 5 stars
12/16/03 Monster W. Kung Drama as it should be. Very good, with excellent performances. 4 stars
12/08/03 john sensational - a honest and deeply felt analogy about the state America after 9/11 5 stars
12/05/03 Phil Parma Brian Cox is awesome. Loved it. 5 stars
11/08/03 anne Norton is marvellous! 5 stars
10/29/03 Jinnvisible Spike Lee directs,,,,,,,,,, reformed american history x nazi goes back to JAIL 4 stars
10/01/03 snowconehead You have to work for it, if you want to enjoy it 3 stars
9/26/03 Pete Spike does it again 5 stars
9/21/03 Terryn Really good 5 stars
9/12/03 y2mckay Solid performances, Norton's "FUCK YOU" speech great, but Spike gets pretentious as usual 4 stars
8/22/03 Matt Great acting all around, powerful movie. 5 stars
8/03/03 Norton Awesome movie! 5 stars
7/31/03 r papp I'm a huge Edward Norton fan, so my objectivity is impaired. 5 stars
7/21/03 Unsaying oman I was tranfixed from studio credit to studio credit. The ideal experience too infrequent. 5 stars
7/20/03 The Talking Elbow I wish there were more movies like this, not perfect, but damn, compare this to Juwanna Man 5 stars
7/11/03 bobby it was bullshit 1 stars
7/04/03 Dianne Pope This is the film I have been waiting for to restore my faith in film making again! 5 stars
6/30/03 serbay supper excellent 5 stars
6/30/03 Corky Spike's films always show a truly humanistic core when all is said and done. Bravo! 4 stars
6/28/03 MONK IT SUCKED. IT WAS SLOW, STULTIFYING, AND POINTLESS. I ALMOST TURNED IT OFF. 1 stars
6/28/03 meh meh 5 stars
6/22/03 Johnny Awful. Everyone who says it's great can't really explain because it's style no substance. 1 stars
6/14/03 John Bale An exceptional film maker, exceptional cast and exceptional story. Brilliant ! 5 stars
6/11/03 Rocky Oh please!! I seen better! 2 stars
6/05/03 Bob Amazing and hypnotic in every way 5 stars
5/30/03 S Daniel He capitalized off of 9/11 because he has no talent to produce a real movie 1 stars
5/26/03 mipchunk this movie felt like 25 hours of wasted time! mirror sequence was dramatic kack. 2 stars
5/26/03 Emily Stein Why hasn't Spike Lee won an Oscar? He never dissappoints! I 5 stars
5/24/03 DarkHorse No easy outs, including the uncertain finish 5 stars
5/19/03 JJ Right on Jim The movie Freak. 25th hour is one of my fav films ever! Pepper is amazing 5 stars
5/16/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back Mo'Fos!) GREAT cast and some of Spike Lee's master directing. VERY GOOD music and story, too. 5 stars
5/04/03 thejames How this movie got a bad rep i dont know. 5 stars
4/06/03 Elizaveta a film with lots of potential that never quite materialized. And it sure liked to stagnate. 4 stars
3/21/03 Jimmy3Z Fantastic writing... Barry Pepper is tremendous 5 stars
3/09/03 Emmalen best acting/directing/writing combo i've seen in a long time--eloquent and spare 5 stars
3/07/03 Andrew Carden Three Words: W-O-W! 5 stars
3/07/03 Winn Greenwood Amazingly done. The mirror sequence is Genius. 5 stars
2/28/03 mc had low expectations and yet I was really engaged by the film 5 stars
2/20/03 Jon Great film... 5 stars
2/08/03 pauline I completely agree with you, Jim( the Movie Freak )!. 5 stars
2/05/03 Donnieboy45 The best movie I've seen since Swingers 5 stars
1/31/03 nancy Riveting-moved me to tears 5 stars
1/29/03 Nancy Tee Amazing 5 stars
1/28/03 Jon The worst movie I have seen in the last two years. Ultra boring. 1 stars
1/27/03 Mike Cray This movie is simply amazing, truly great. 5 stars
1/25/03 FrayLo Norton rocks and some powerful images throughout the movie make this worthwhile 5 stars
1/22/03 Stephanie Edward Norton and cast were superb. Recommend not to miss. 5 stars
1/21/03 the white rabbit a masterpiece from spike lee. 5 stars
1/19/03 WestcoastPunk Greatest movie of the year. Norton is a fuckin God 5 stars
1/16/03 nick2k it was very good...and the wonderful cinematography. but i liked narc more overall. 5 stars
1/12/03 Yo Mama! Excellent film/acting/directing/cinematography etc... even the 9/11 stuff wasn't too much. 5 stars
1/11/03 Flip poignant, deep--Lee had me very minute 5 stars
1/10/03 Butterbean Great character developments. Some deja vu from Do The Right Thing, but it's forgivable. 4 stars
1/10/03 dude on first street yeah it's got punch, yes it serves, but I shouldn't have dipped into my rent cash to see it 4 stars
1/08/03 Amy One of the best films I've seen this year! 5 stars
12/26/02 helloevery1 jim knows what's he talking about. this is a monumental film! norton's best in years 5 stars
12/23/02 Me Not U Pony, Martin, & Johnny Are The Ones That Suck Ass. An amazing post 9/11 film! 5 stars
12/22/02 meathole Amazing and important. Benioff is God. 5 stars
12/22/02 pony theee worst film ever, how do you make even P.S. Hoffman suck so hard???? 1 stars
12/20/02 Terry M. Why isn't everybody pushing for this film? Best i've seen in years! 5 stars
12/20/02 Johnny Boring, misplaced monologue, like every Lee film "I hate the minorities." Sleepwalking, yes 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Dec-2002 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  05-Jun-2003




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