Academy Award(R)-nominee Edward Norton (Best Actor, 1999, AMERICAN HISTORY X) heads an amazing all-star cast in the critically acclaimed Spike Lee (SUMMER OF SAM, DO THE RIGHT THING) film 25th HOUR. In 24 short hours Monty... more » Brogan (Norton) goes to prison for seven long years. Once a king of Manhattan, Monty is about to say good-bye to the life he knew -- a life that opened doors to New York's swankest clubs but also alienated him from the people closest to him. In his last day on the outside, Monty tries to reconnect with his father (Brian Cox, THE BOURNE IDENTITY), and gets together with two old friends, Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman, ALMOST FAMOUS) and Slaughtery (Barry Pepper, THE GREEN MILE). And then there's his girlfriend, Naturelle (Rosario Dawson, MEN IN BLACK 2), who might (or might not) have been the one who tipped off the cops. Monty's not sure of much these days, but with time running out, there are choices to be made as he struggles to redeem himself in the 25th hour.« less
The plot of the movie seems a little bit far fetched to me: the county letting a man who has been convicted, turn himself in? Definitely does not seem plausible to me. Some points of this movie were really well done. Ed Norton, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Berry Pepper all did really great jobs. They had fantastic chemistry and some of the subplots thrown in around their characters were really interesting. Anna Paquin's character was annoying, but I liked the point they had in putting her in the story. I also could have done without Rosario Dawson. There was one cute moment between her and Ed Norton's characters when they're taking a bath together; other than that though, she didn't add anything to the story.
There is one scene where Ed Norton's character goes on a rant in a bathroom mirror about race and his family and his friends that was interesting, but out of place. It seemed more like a American History X excerpt than a scene from the movie. The idea of him talking to himself was interesting, but I wish it had been created into a theme through out the movie instead of a one time occurrence.
Wendy H. (grandma) from DELPHOS, OH Reviewed on 4/5/2011...
Kelsy B. from HIGHLAND, CA Reviewed on 2/11/2010...
i really like this movie... the story line is really different then most movies out there.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jennifer L. from YONKERS, NY Reviewed on 1/19/2008...
Couldn't complete viewing - - too self indulgent and involved. Too much talking and thinking; too little action
0 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Lee and Benioff Make Neo Noir Classic
Mark D Burgh | Fort Smith, AR United States | 08/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Spike Lee's film of Michael Benioff's novel 25th Hour is one of the strongest of the neo-noir films of the last few years, and one of the few films to address the corruption of dealing drugs and the breakdown of culture symbolized by the WTC site. Edward Norton plays Montgomery Brogan, a heroin dealer who must report to the Otisville Federal Prison in the morning. Monty's life until this point has been a dream; he lives with a beautiful woman, drives a cool car, and gets into all the clubs, but financing this life is heroin and the Russian Mafia.
Edward Norton gives a typical strong performance - I'd love to see him and Johnny Depp in a film - making Monty a rich character who understands his own self-delusions. Barry Pepper and the ever wonderful Phillip Hoffman play Monty's more conventional friends, Slattery and Alinsky, the former a Wall-Street cowboy, and the latter a repressed English teacher in love with one of his students. Rosanna Dawson plays Monty's woman with understated power and sorrow.
Monty's final day of freedom plays out in clubs, parks, bars, and his memories, which Spike Lee weaves seamlessly in and out of the narrative, sparing us a moralistic explanation for Monty, a nice boy, ending up becoming a drug dealer, but showing us instead the parts of Monty's life that mean something to him: finding an abused pit bull, meeting Naturale, getting busted and interrogated by arrogant DEA agents.
The rant that Monty gives to his reflection is right out of David Benioff's book, nearly word-for-word, so stop blaming Spike Lee, and besides it's a great set piece, expressing Monty's self-loathing at the city which will go on despite him. Lee follows up this tour-de-force with all the people Monty cursed waving good-bye to him as he leaves New York, one of the most wonderful cinematic poems I've seen.
Monty is himself the City, broken, confused, and angry; beautiful, Monty wants to make himself ugly to protect himself from gang rape in prison, and he calls on his friends Slattery and Alinsky to beat him, horrifying them both.
Again, the flight of fantasy at the end of the film is right out of Benioff's book and not something Spike Lee made up, although Lee often extends the ends of his films (see Mo' Better Blues and Clockers), so Benioff's novel was right in keeping with Lee's style.
This is one of Spike Lee's best films, and it was totally disregarded at the box office, probably people want to pigeonhole Lee. But like all great artists, Spike Lee can transcend himself. I believe 25th Hour will be remembered as a great American film in the years to come.
Note: I would recommend you read David Benioff's novel, but the film is taken right from the book with few amendations, and those small changes - emphasizing 9/11, making Monty's father a fireman - improve Benioff's book. "
Criminals are always playing spin the bottle and sooner or l
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 03/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the many things that make 25th hour such a special film to me is how Benioff and Lee didn't attempt to cram too many events into this plot. This film does take place in just one day, and it's a perfect snapshot of the lead protagonist Monty Brogan's thoughts and actions in that final day before he begins a 7 year jail sentence for dealing heroin, expertly put together by David Benioff and Spike Lee. We see Brogan (superbly played by Edward Norton) walking his dog, talking to his girlfriend, having a meal with his father, going out to a club with his friends, preparing to go to jail and being driven there. It's not over the top, it isn't brash, but it does do what is necessary.
Brogan is clearly worried and regretful. This is faultlessly portrayed by the mirror scene, in which he rants incessantly about the variety of people populating New York, and then realizes that he only has himself to blame for the situation he is in. It's such a human moment, since how many people can honestly say that they have never chosen to blame others, and take their anger out in a vicious way, even if it is just personal thoughts? But it isn't just Monty who feels regret, virtually every other character we focus on does, Monty's father is weighed down by his former alcoholism, and he partly holds himself responsible for Monty's fate. And so do Monty's friends, not preventing him from his choice to deal drugs.
Monty Brogan is not really shown in a 'good' or 'bad' light. Norton plays him as a normal person. He's easy to relate to, and it's a reminder of how anyone can turn out depending on what choices they make. His choice of drug dealing is looked down upon, the interrogators ridicule him, but that is only in the context of drug dealing, not as a normal person. Benioff and Lee were keen to show his actions like this.
The film is skillfully made, from the very tasteful opening credit scene acknowledging 9/11 (another honest feature about the film, which is an important theme throughout), where we see the lights at ground zero dropping from the sky, to the fantasy scene with Monty and his father in the car near the end, where they think about the family he could have had, all surreally dressed in while. Terence Blanchard's score too is one of the most beautiful I've heard in a recent film along with Michael Andrews score for Donnie Darko - The Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition). The film tells it like it is. It's about decision making, it's about responsibility and it's about real friendship. It's realistic on an emotional level and is now one of my favorite Spike Lee Joints. "
One of the best movies I have seen.
Mark D Burgh | 05/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am not a big fan of Spike Lee and I do not usually write reviews for movies. But after watching this film, I was inspired to do so. This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. Edward Norton plays his role to perfection. His supporting cast does an excellent job at bringing out his exceptional acting skills. The few montage sequences in the film were humerous as well as though-provoking. This is one of those movies that will stay in your mind long after you view it. I highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a good drama. I have a new found respect for Spike Lee."
Greed, lust and distrust, set against the aftermath of 9/11
Samuel McKewon | Lincoln, NE | 04/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Spike Lee's "The 25 Hour" is the story of a New York drug dealer's long last night of freedom before a seven-year prison stint. It is a sad movie for a bunch of reasons, but most notably for the way the Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) wastes his final night in a deafening, public night club, with childhood friends he no longer really knows, and a girlfriend he no longer trusts. By the following morning, Monty knows some things that might have changed that final night for the better, but then Monty's whole life has played out that way, learning things after the fact. It's why he's going to prison. Edward Norton is entrenched in this kind of character -- a smart, quick-talking brooder, aware of his risks, but willing to roll the dice. But much like Norton's torn characters of "Fight Club" and "American History X," Monty senses something lacking about his masculinity; it isn't the length of time in jail that worries him, it's the first night. He rubs his pretty boy face, pretty certain he'll be raped or killed. His Russian mobster boss tells him to beat someone up, and bad, or else. "The only thing I learned about prison," the mobster says, "is that I don't like prison." Monty gathers two old friends, one a Jewish literature teacher, Jacob, (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), the other a hopped-up stockbroker, Francis, (Barry Pepper) for a night of reconciliation, celebration. The girlfriend, Naturelle (Rosario Dawson), comes along, although she and Monty aren't speaking much, since Monty believes it was Naturelle who turned him into the DEA. Did she? The movie argues for both possibilities and then reveals the answer. Dawson is not a great actor, but she finds her mark with Naturelle, a young, Latin beauty who loves Monty but keeps her distance; she's sad and kind, but she's also the hottest thing on the block, and not particularly subject to loyalty laws once Monty's gone. The friends fight their own demons. Jacob, the English teacher, is more intrigued by a student (Anna Paquin) who joins Monty's party at the club. Stockbroker Francis fights a movie-long battle on whether to lust after Naturelle, or berate her. There is also Monty's father (Brian Cox), a semi-reformed alcoholic bartender who blames his poor example for his son's fate. "The 25th Hour" is, then, a jack-of-all-trades lament, set against the World Trade Center cleanup of 9/11, which Lee displays prominently throughout the film. It creates a deliberate pall over the film, as does the loud, melodramatic score that plays during many scenes. The terrorist attacks play a central role in a lengthy rant that Norton delivers straight to the camera -- the centerpiece of the film, it's a angry treatise on the disgust of New York that also doubles as its charms; like most New Yorkers, Monty has a tough love for his city, but it's a deep love nonetheless. Bottle this scene up and you've got a perfect movie. Lee wanders a bit -- the screenplay isn't quite good enough to justify such emphasis on Jacob's storyline -- but "The 25th Hour" ends on a provocative note that explores a choice that has been in front of Monty all along. It's farfetched, intentionally so, and the kind of wish we'd all like to have when we're faced with steep consequence. The scene only works if we think Monty, through his remorse, has earned the right to dream it. And Norton sells it, in one of his best performances."
Film techniques add interest and edginess to this fine story
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 08/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Spike Lee film is a hard-edged story of a convicted drug dealer on the last day before he has to serve a 7-year prison sentence. Edward Norton stars in this role and brings all his excellent acting talents to the task of taking a long last look at the New York City he loves as well as the important people in his life. There's his girlfriend, played by Rosario Dawson, who just might be the person who betrayed him to the cops. There's his father, played by Brian Cox, who blames himself for his son going astray. There are his two best friends, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper, who know that their friend will never be the same again. Add a couple of Russian gangsters to this mix, as well as a precocious teenager, played by Anna Paquin, whose seductiveness tempts Philip Seymour Hoffman into making an unwise decision, and the scene is set for an intriguing, fast-paced film. I liked the theme, which was about being responsible for the consequences of your actions, and I liked Spike Lee's interpretation of it. I especially liked some of his film techniques. Sometimes the colors are altered to show the main characters bathed in blue. And, during the sequences that get inside Norton's mind, the colors are glaring neon. This adds to the interest and the edginess of the film.The story is easy to relate to. The characters are real. The acting is the finest that the film industry has to offer. And there's a director who has his own personal style of bringing it all to life. You can't go wrong with that combination.Recommended."