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Overall Rating
4.33

Awesome60.87%
Worth A Look: 26.71%
Average: 3.11%
Pretty Bad: 3.11%
Total Crap: 6.21%

10 reviews, 101 user ratings


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25th Hour
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Spike Lee's dark love letter to New York."
5 stars

Whether you love or hate Spike Lee's movies, they're not sellouts -- even a didactic, hectoring bummer like 'Jungle Fever' or 'Bamboozled' has integrity.

In 25th Hour, perhaps Lee's most consistently compelling work since 1995's Clockers, protagonist Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) spends his last day and night of freedom before reporting to prison for a seven-year stretch. Monty got where he is (in both senses -- a fancy car and a prison term) by dealing drugs. Yet we see no drug deals in the movie. There are guns and thugs, but no shootouts. There are flashbacks, but they serve only to flesh out Monty's life -- what he's losing -- before this day and night. 25th Hour, written by David Benioff from his novel, stays almost exclusively with Monty as his moments of freedom tick away.

Part of what Monty is losing is New York, the city he loves, and Spike Lee is not one to ignore 9/11's impact on the city. Two of Monty's friends -- Wall Street hustler Frank (Barry Pepper) and schoolteacher Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman) -- sit and talk, in a very long unbroken shot, in front of Frank's window overlooking Ground Zero. "Bin Laden can drop another bomb right next door; I ain't moving," says Frank, exemplifying the movie's (and its director's) philosophy of pride and defiance in the face of disaster. Shooting for the first time in widescreen, and aided by the deservedly hot cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (Amores Perros, Frida, 8 Mile), Lee gives us sprawling and heartfelt panoramas of the great city. Accompanied by his dog, Monty sits on a bench staring out at the river; you know he's memorizing the view.

Frank, Jacob, and Monty's girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) take Monty out for one last night on the town, and the mood is jocular yet muted, the atmosphere heavy with the unspoken. Monty, who seems to be known and respected everywhere, puts on a half-hearted show of indifference, but inside he's terrified and furious at himself. Earlier, having dinner with his father (Brian Cox) at the old man's bar, Monty goes to the bathroom and is set off by an obscenity scrawled on the mirror; he launches into a stream of invective (understandably but wrongly attributed to Lee, it comes right out of Benioff's book) that savages everyone in New York -- strangers, friends, family -- and finally turns viciously onto himself. In the highlight of this tense, angry performance, Norton makes us see how love can flip into hate: He rails against New York and everyone in it because he no longer belongs there.

Monty's dog is about the only one who loves him without complications. Frank tells Jacob that, as much as he loves Monty, he deserves to be sent up. Jacob is preoccupied with a Lolita-esque student (Anna Paquin) in his English class; she tags along with Monty's group for a night at the club, and her teasing of the flustered Jacob -- almost forcing him to act on his heavily repressed lust -- is another of those unwatchably painful Philip Seymour Hoffman moments. In general, Lee doesn't jump around much; he keeps the camera glued to Hoffman or Pepper or Dawson long enough to poke the truth out of them. This director has always given his actors room to breathe, create, surprise themselves.

In the gloomy dawn before his seven years begin, Monty goes about giving up what little he has left, even his looks. Monty's dad offers to drive him to prison, then starts talking about possibilities. I won't give it away, but it's the most heartbreaking alternate-universe riff since the dead child really grew up to be an Olympic-class swimmer in Stephen King's Pet Sematary.

But the movie insists on reality, and '25th Hour' makes for a fine bookend piece to Lee's 'Clockers,' which also considered the drug-dealer formula: You get caught or you get killed. Everything else is details.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6463&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/04/07 15:33:45
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User Comments

7/19/14 rniewnt USA 2 stars
6/14/12 tommy yes spike lee's masterpiece.....one of many... 5 stars
3/03/11 chris c A somber look at a man's last days of freedom shadowed by the tragedy of 9/11 5 stars
2/03/11 isaiah one of my three favorite movies 5 stars
6/12/10 PAUL SHORTT TURGID BUT POWERFUL AND WELL ACTED 3 stars
12/21/08 Tony Transformed the way I look at justice and redemption. 5 stars
8/30/08 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
3/11/08 Leumas Spectacular 5 stars
3/03/08 ladavies I could watch this movie over and over again...and have. 5 stars
10/24/07 lee Hanson What a powerful film. It is flawless from beginning to end. 5 stars
6/11/07 fools♫gold I related to everyone but Norton's character until the beautiful end. 5 stars
5/31/07 ES alright, not much there 3 stars
10/21/06 Billychic Loved the movie - however, I'm still trying to figure out the ending... 4 stars
8/30/06 scott amazing movie, emotion packed, interesting 4 stars
3/28/06 john martin one of the best american movies 5 stars
8/08/05 E This confusing, plot-less piece of crap is overrated 2 stars
8/06/05 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
5/11/05 Simon A movie as carried by its fantastic cast-performances as any. Powerful. 5 stars
2/07/05 bodi Najlepszy fim jaki iwdzialem 5 stars
12/21/04 DM Powerful, but Lee gets caught up in his own excesses 4 stars
10/30/04 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
8/12/04 kc norton is great 5 stars
6/01/04 Big Russian So Spike, so different, so good, great casting 5 stars
5/22/04 vasilis I LIKED IT A LOT 5 stars
4/15/04 Charlene Javier Another good film from Lee. 4 stars
4/15/04 rojo Great acting and directing, absorbing drama. 5 stars
4/15/04 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
2/02/04 This girl Freaking fantastic. Poignant and provocative and some great visual flair. 5 stars
1/24/04 Ben Carasso A verist impression of New York and is dwellers' Yhe monologur in front of tke mirror is ai 5 stars
1/20/04 Chuckie Atkins Jr. I don't get how it relates to 9/11, except it acknowldeges that it happened. 4 stars
1/17/04 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) Excellent in all departments. Another great one for both Spike and Norton. Kick-ass. 5 stars
1/02/04 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
12/17/03 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
12/06/03 Phil Parma Brian Cox is awesome. Loved it. 5 stars
11/08/03 anne Norton is marvellous! 5 stars
10/30/03 Jinnvisible Spike Lee directs,,,,,,,,,, reformed american history x nazi goes back to JAIL 4 stars
10/02/03 snowconehead You have to work for it, if you want to enjoy it 3 stars
9/27/03 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
7/22/03 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
7/12/03 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
6/06/03 Bob Amazing and hypnotic in every way 5 stars
5/31/03 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
5/25/03 DarkHorse No easy outs, including the uncertain finish 5 stars
5/20/03 JJ Right on Jim The movie Freak. 25th hour is one of my fav films ever! Pepper is amazing 5 stars
5/17/03 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
5/05/03 thejames How this movie got a bad rep i dont know. 5 stars
4/07/03 Elizaveta a film with lots of potential that never quite materialized. And it sure liked to stagnate. 4 stars
3/22/03 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
3/08/03 Andrew Carden Three Words: W-O-W! 5 stars
3/07/03 Winn Greenwood Amazingly done. The mirror sequence is Genius. 5 stars
3/01/03 mc had low expectations and yet I was really engaged by the film 5 stars
2/21/03 Jon Great film... 5 stars
2/09/03 pauline I completely agree with you, Jim( the Movie Freak )!. 5 stars
2/06/03 Donnieboy45 The best movie I've seen since Swingers 5 stars
2/01/03 nancy Riveting-moved me to tears 5 stars
1/30/03 Nancy Tee Amazing 5 stars
1/29/03 Jon The worst movie I have seen in the last two years. Ultra boring. 1 stars
1/28/03 Mike Cray This movie is simply amazing, truly great. 5 stars
1/26/03 FrayLo Norton rocks and some powerful images throughout the movie make this worthwhile 5 stars
1/23/03 Stephanie Edward Norton and cast were superb. Recommend not to miss. 5 stars
1/22/03 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
1/13/03 Yo Mama! Excellent film/acting/directing/cinematography etc... even the 9/11 stuff wasn't too much. 5 stars
1/12/03 Flip poignant, deep--Lee had me very minute 5 stars
1/11/03 Butterbean Great character developments. Some deja vu from Do The Right Thing, but it's forgivable. 4 stars
1/11/03 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
1/09/03 Amy One of the best films I've seen this year! 5 stars
12/27/02 helloevery1 jim knows what's he talking about. this is a monumental film! norton's best in years 5 stars
12/24/02 Me Not U Pony, Martin, & Johnny Are The Ones That Suck Ass. An amazing post 9/11 film! 5 stars
12/23/02 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
12/21/02 Terry M. Why isn't everybody pushing for this film? Best i've seen in years! 5 stars
12/21/02 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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