25th Hour

25th Hour
Film review by: Witney Seibold

25th Hour
            “25th Hour,” the newest film from director Spike Lee, and written by David Benioff from his novel, is emotional, chaotic, and endearing, harsh, and comforting. It feels a little slapdash, as is Lee’s style, but through it all it asks us the important questions about survival. How far will you go to survive, and is simply surviving enough? And, most importantly, is doing the right thing more important than a possibility of happiness?
            Monty Brogan (Edward Norton, fantastic as always) is an ex-drug dealer. Ex, because about a year ago, he was pinned by the DEA. He is now going to go to prison for seven years. Still walking the streets on his last 24 hours as a free man, he must struggle with his future, or lack thereof. He is angry, sad, unsure, scared, scared. We follow him, his loving girlfriend Naturelle (a foxy Rosario Dawson), and his two best friends as he celebrates/laments this new change. His friend, a Wall St. shark (Barry Pepper), and a sad sack (professional sad sack Philip Seymour Hoffman) who lusts dangerously after his 17-year-old student (an especially foxy Anna Paquin). The film spends a lot of time with Hoffman and Pepper as they bicker and insult one another. We learn a lot about Monty from these two. We also meet Monty’s dad (Brian Cox, fantastic as well), a practical and warm man who ends up, in a stirring final sequence, offering Monty a temptation difficult to refuse.
            This film is close and intimate. We know all of the characters very well, and actually get warmth from Spike Lee’s usually angry and alienated environment. It’s a complete u-turn in attitude from Lee’s last film, “Bamboozled,” which was wonderfully daring, but painfully obvious and perhaps even offensive. We prowl about the streets of New York City, almost in a Scorsese fashion, observing people who are New Yorkers to their very cores. The credits open above a pair of spotlights where the World Trade towers used to be; there is still a lot of preoccupation with the damage in the minds of New Yorkers. The final temptation/dream sequence is beautiful and hypnotic. Lee’s film may not be slick or perfect, but it is effective.

Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 11:29 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. I watched the movie recently and liked it very much. Although I’m not much of a fan of Spike Lee I like some of his styles. Like the scene of fucking everybody and everything in the world and the world itself and lastly himself.

    Ending scene of temptation was also nice.

    Your review is also good esp. the comparison with last Spike Lee film.

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