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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Edward Norton
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Barry Pepper
Rosario Dawson
Edward Norton
Barry Pepper
Rosario Dawson
Anna Paquin.
Directors
Spike Lee
Spike Lee.
Screenwriters
David Benioff
David Benioff.
Running Time
135 minutes

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25th Hour
Spike Lee's engrossing, post-9/11 elegy to his home city.


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Plot
Monty Brogan (Norton) is about to be sent to prison for drug dealing. He spends his final day of freedom with his girlfriend, his father and his two best friends, all the while determining who really sold him out.


Review
How far can you take a metaphor before it sinks beneath the weight of its own self-importance? Spike Lee's latest is about a drug dealer cleaning up his act, so it's really about post-Giuliani New York and the effects of the ex-mayor's hard line attitude to crime. It's also about a drug dealer determined to ruin his pretty boy looks before he goes to prison, so it's really about the heterosexual male's fear of sodomy.

Then again, it's also about a drug dealer who finally accepts that the punishment being meted out to him is solely his responsibility, caused by his own past indiscretions, so it's really about the current political state of America. Under this reading, Monty is the USA, who can no longer blame his Latin American (i.e. Third World scapegoat) girlfriend for his woes, but must let his former Soviet (i.e. failing superpower) cohorts fight it out amongst themselves. Meanwhile he takes advice from his friends, a teacher (cultural heritage), a Wall Street broker (financial might) and his ex-fireman father (the hands that built America). Haven't quite worked out where the dog fits in yet.

Actually, the above interpretation isn't that ridiculous. There's a reason why Lee sets a key scene in an apartment overlooking Ground Zero, now a gaping wound in the street map and psyche of New York. David Benioff wrote his novel before 9/11, but his screenplay resonates with the sense of a city and its inhabitants shaken to their core.

Like Monty, everyone has to look deep within himself, weigh up his sins and, if necessary, pay his dues before redemption can be earned. All of which makes 25th Hour one of Lee's more thoughtful and timely works, one that tones down anger in favour of wider contemplation and a certain ambiguity when the final credits roll. Of course, the film could really just be about the surface story. And it wouldn't be any less enjoyable for that.


Verdict
Lee's post-9/11 elegy to his home city has some obvious flaws - the teacher/pupil flirting sub-plot, the over-extended final reel fantasy life - but 25th Hour proves that big ideas and an indie sensibility can still flourish inside the studio system. One of the more entertaining and thought-provoking Spike Lee Joints in a long while...


Reviewed by Alan Morrison


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Average user rating for 25th Hour
Empire Star Rating

A 24 Hour Chronicle Of Worry

The 25th Hour is an intriguing premise. It has a spot on cast, who deliver superb performances. It has a neat, believable script and a well executed, moral-compass based structure that fits the New York backdrop suitably. Basically, The 25th Hour is a haunting and uneventful tale of men and the lives they lead. Some subplots, most notably the one involving Anna Paquin, are a touch unnecessary, but this is not a problem big enough to render the film no good. The oblique ending makes for some inte... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 12:55, 05 January 2012 | Report This Post


The 25th Hour. A Spike Lee joint.

And one of his best joints in a while. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 00:42, 07 May 2010 | Report This Post


25th Hour

just watched this for the first time and must say how much i really enjoyed it. Everybody on top form but the obvious stand out being Norton. Set against a post 9/11 New York backdrop with the obvious mood still lingering it adds good weight to the story in hand. I found myself feeling real sympathy for Monty and his final hours leading upto impending incarceration. The film creates an underlying message that we all could relate to. Definitely Spike Lee's best in my opinion. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Grady at 06:06, 29 February 2008 | Report This Post


25th Hour

just watched this for the first time and must say how much i really enjoyed it. Everybody on top form but the obvious stand out being Norton. Set against a post 9/11 New York backdrop with the obvious mood still lingering it adds good weight to the story in hand. I found myself feeling real sympathy for Monty and his final hours leading upto impending incarceration. The film creates an underlying message that we all could relate to. Definitely Spike Lee's best in my opinion. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Grady at 06:06, 29 February 2008 | Report This Post


Great

What can I say another Spike Lee for those of you that this isn't enough I will write on. It's another great Spike Lee movie in wich we follow a man in his last days before he goes of to prisson for a drug related crime, just like al Spike Lee films he's got a way of filming that keeps you (or at least me) edged even long afther the film has ended. And theres only one other director that does that for me and that is Larry Clark and he gives it in a whole other reason (altough also a good one.) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Madmax82 at 20:50, 14 December 2006 | Report This Post


every actor in this film gives the bet perfomance of their careers, and this is probaly one of spike lee's best films. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Naweed_1 at 16:44, 11 March 2006 | Report This Post


RE: 25th Hour

One of Spike Lee's best of his recent efforts ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Gaz at 02:26, 02 March 2006 | Report This Post


RE: 25th Hour

rial]]25th Hour]rial]]]sp; rial]sequences of selling drugs.....nt=arial]orth the "rewards" as Edward Norton finds out. I wanted to watch this film in theaters when it was released but I didnt get a chance to. I waited for the DVD and it was worth it. Ed Norton is a great actor and the way Spike Lee directed this film is brilliant, the imagery and the locations. While most will be put off by the redundant subject of the film most will enjoy the performances and the semi-twist at the end.&... More

Posted by wgamador at 14:54, 28 February 2006 | Report This Post


Yes, I Concur

Yeah of course, but what about how it looks ?!? This shit pops out of the screen and grabs you like only a Spike Lee joint can. The tracking shot that follows Anna Paquin through the nightclub blew my mind the first time I saw it and is just as good as any from Goodfellas or Casino. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JasonC19 at 07:25, 28 February 2006 | Report This Post


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