Reviewed byJustin HarrisVote: 9/10/10
I read the novel 'The 25th Hour' before I even knew it was going to beadapted into a movie and I absolutely loved it. I thought it was one ofthe best books written in the last ten years. Being a huge fan of SpikeLee and Edward Norton, I was extremely excited when I found they weremaking it into a film.
However I will admit I was a bit skeptical to whether Spike Lee couldpull the film off, but when I saw the trailer I had a new found faithin it and I'm sorry to of doubted him. I saw the film yesterday and wasjust amazed. It's nearly flawless and is almost exactly like the novelwhich 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 lastday of freedom and he's just trying to tie up any loose ends before hegoes. Then you got his two friends, Frank Slaughtery (Barry Pepper) andJakob Elinsky (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who each have to deal with thefact that their best friend is going away for seven years, but alsohave their own demons to deal with. You also have his girlfriend,Naturelle Rivera (Rosario Dawson) who must deal with it as well andmust also deal with the fact that she's suspect on who could have soldMonty out to the DEA. And finally you have James Brogan (Brian Cox),Monty's father. He's a hard working guy who obviously wished thatthings didn't turn out the way they did. One last night for Monty toset things straight and also make decisions.
The film sticks almost exactly to the novel, but there are slightdifferences. Since the novel was written in 2000 and the movie wasfilmed during 2002, Spike Lee and David Benioff included the mentioningof 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 tocapture the emotion of what New Yorkers are facing and among that, whatthe characters have to face with Monty going to prison. There are alsoslight differences and cut outs from the book to make the film floweasier, but I was disappointed with only one thing that the film didn'tinclude. In the novel, Monty constantly thinks of how he always wantedto be a fireman. While firemen references and his father was a firemanare all mentioned in the film, it didn't really tackle Monty's regretof never becoming a fireman, like it did in the book. But the filmmakes up for that one thing by being terrific all around.
There are some stellar performances here. Edward Norton is always greatin 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 justexcellent and I hope he gets an Oscar nomination for this role (he wasrobbed from one for American History X). Barry Pepper is in hisgreatest performance yet as the tough guy stockbroker. Philip SeymourHoffman was great as Jakob, the high school teacher. Dealing with hisattraction to his student, Mary (Anna Paquin). Rosario Dawson reallymade 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. Iwould also like to give praise to Tony Siragusa for his performance asKostya. 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)
Reviewed bymattymatt4everVote: 9/10/10
This is definitely Spike Lee at the top of his game! `25th Hour' is apurely character-driven drama filled with engaging, complex characters andsharp dialogue. I like how Spike allowed the scenes to play out, withoutbeing 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 isboring and slow-moving. If they do, that's probably because audiences areso used to watching movies with a million cuts in one scene, and more timeemphasized on action and sex scenes than character development. Thecharacters were so well-developed that I felt a deep connection with each ofthem. It's rare nowadays that I really get sucked into a film, and this wasone of those rare cases. It might also have to do with the fact that I'mfamiliar with many of these types of characters in real life. You have theBarry Pepper character, who's this smooth-talking playboy who ends sleepingwith 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 looklike an Adonis. It's a harsh reality that handsome guys with nice bodiesget away with being complete jerks and still maintain an active dating life,while average-looking guys can have great personalities and women will berepulsed by them, but it is indeed a reality. Sure, it isn't right forHoffman to be lusting after one of his underage students, but I'm sure if hewere ten times better looking, people wouldn't be as disgusted-because Godknows that teachers sleeping with their students is sweeping the globe likean epidemic.
The approach to these character interaction scenes is almostdocumentary-like, which adds to the film's engaging qualities. I love thescene between Pepper and Hoffman, where they chat about dating and Pepperdescribes his buddy as being part of the 62nd percentile, in the datingworld. Sometimes it doesn't work when you deviate from the main charactersto focus on the supporting characters, but in this film it did, being thatthey're very essential in Monty's life and it's helpful to allow theaudience to know them inside and out.
The acting is terrific. Edward Norton is always brilliant. But thesupporting cast is just as strong. Barry Pepper is a wonderful actor aswell, and it's interesting to find out that he's from Vancouver, yet heconvincingly inhabits the character of a true New Yorker. Brian Cox is onlyin the film for about 20 or 30 minutes, but his appearances are verymemorable, and he is absolutely magnificent. After seeing him in thismovie, I must add him to my list of favorite underrated actors. It's ironicthat he shows up in practically every other film, yet he never gets therecognition he deserves. Hopefully, one day he will. Even Tony Siragusaimpressed me. I'm not hugely familiar with him, but I saw him make a guestappearance once on `The Tonight Show,' and he seems like a cool guy with agood sense of humor, but I wasn't sure how he'd pan out in a seriousdramatic role. Well, he is great, and pulls off the Ukrainian accent withhardly a hitch. I also liked how his character would mess up on his Englishevery once in a while, instead of these foreign characters in movies whospeak perfect English, only with an accent. I'm always proud to see PhilipSeymour Hoffman, who never fails to impress. One reason I'm so drawn to himis because-like me-he's an average-looking guy, yet he receives decent rolesand doesn't get typed as the `fat slob' like most actors in his weightrange. So I think of him as an inspiration to all overweight aspiringactors. I once read a review for `Magnolia' in which someone bashed him forbeing so ugly. Of course, this person didn't mention anything about hisacting, 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-perfectfaces and near-perfect bodies that they can't stand to see actors who looklike `normal people.' How often do you walk outside and see people who looklike Tom Cruise and Gwyneth Paltrow? Even these so-called reality shows tryto include the most beautiful people possible. So people get hypnotizedinto thinking that's reality. I'm a heterosexual man, so naturally I'm openabout enjoying the sights of beautiful actresses, but that's not going toimpact how I feel about their acting abilities. And the sight of beautifulwomen alone surely doesn't make a film good (i.e.: `Charlie Angels').Speaking of beautiful women, wrapping up this talented cast are Anna Paiquinand Rosario Dawson. Paiquin is cute and effective in her role, thoughtechnically it's similar to the ones she played in `HurlyBurly' and `It'sthe Rage.' I just hope she doesn't get typecast as the teenage slut wholoves sleeping with older men. But she's a fine actress, and despite thesesimilarities, she takes different approaches to each of her characters. Rosario Dawson just gets hotter and hotter by the movie. When I saw thattrailer shot where she's dancing in the club in that silver dress, Icouldn't help but think to myself, `I'd give my left leg to marry thatgirl.' Well, I'm glad to see that she receives good roles that complimenther acting abilities. She really has a commanding screen presence, outsideof 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 thepeople of NYC and the world in general. I'm sure many will find deepmeaning in that sequence, but I felt it was out of place and simply anopportunity to remind people that this is a Spike Lee joint-since it'sidentical to the race-bashing montage in `Do the Right Thing.' Spikementioned in the commentary that the scene was in the screenplay, andadapted from the original novel, but I'm sure he thought of it as a perfectopportunity to insert one of his directorial trademarks. My other criticismis the use of flashbacks. Nowadays, some directors feel that dissolvinginto flashbacks and showing subtitles that read things like `Three yearsearlier' is passe, but the audience needs some sort of clue that we're goingback in time. In the scene where Dawson and her friend are in theplayground, and Norton first meets her, is obviously a flashback sinceDawson is wearing a Catholic private school uniform. But there are otherscenes that I didn't realize were flashbacks until I watched the movie withSpike'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 feltworked out well, like his famous dolly shot. The movie is long, but notoverlong. As I said, this is Spike at the top of his game. I'm personallya fan of most of his work, even the awfully bashed `Summer of Sam.' Otherfans 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)
Reviewed byKungloaVote: 9/10/10
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 byeither incompetent directors or inexperienced ones is first of all, theincredible acting and for that you need great characters that are wellthought-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 feelof the movie very well. The final product feels very polished, but trueto the story and it is those small things that some of us notice, thosedetails that separate a veteran from a novice. There are some weakpoints, but they are only minor.
The acting here is top notch. Norton convinces once again and makes fora 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 wherehe breaks down and Norton thanks him in a way for what he has done isone of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen. It felt soauthentic.
Furthermore, I can keep writing about how great this movie is or howgood the acting, but eventually you have to decide for yourself. I canonly recommend it.
So, I say to you, if you can, see this movie as soon as possible.
The 25th Hour depicts the last day of freedom for a young man before he begins serving a seven-year jail term for drug dealing. Prowling through the city until dawn with his two close male friends and his girlfriend, he is forced to re-examine his life and how he got himself into his predicament, which leads to a shocking, disturbing finale.