HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  25th Hour A Day In The Life
Year: 2002
Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Edward Norton, Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Tony Siragusa, Levani Outchaneichvili, Tony Devon
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 5 votes)
Review: Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) is a young, intelligent New Yorker, making a very healthy living as a drug dealer for a Ukranian gang. Monty's luck runs out when he busted by the DEA and he is sentenced to seven years in prison. Monty spends his last 24 hours of freedom with those closest to him – his father James (Brian Cox), girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) and best friends Frank (Barry Pepper) and Jakob (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

Like Woody Allen, Spike Lee is so closely associated with New York that although the director often tells stories that could be told in other locales, the city seems to closely mirror the mental and physical states of his characters. If the tangled love lives of Allen's signature film Manhattan were set against a chaotic yet romantic image of the city, then in 25th Hour, the shock and anger of a town still coming to terms with September 11th becomes the perfect backdrop for Monty Brogan's last day as a free man.

This is the first film in which Lee has not had a writing credit; David Benioff has adapted his own novel, and while the book was written while the World Trade Centre was still standing, Lee ensures that the film is utterly contemporary, from the opening credits (beautifully shot by Amores Perros cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto), imposed over the dazzling beams of light that marked the first anniversary of that terrible day, to the location of Frank's flat, literally overlooking Ground Zero. But given that Lee is not always the most subtle of directors, the references to 9/11 are sensitively and carefully woven into the script – the film is not about 9/11, but makes it utterly clear that its effects still inform much of daily life in New York.

The idea of setting a film over a single 24-hour period is not a new one for Lee – 1989's Do the Right Thing also took place in a single day. But where that earlier picture focused on the inhabitants of an entire neighbourhood, 25th Hour has just five main characters, their relationship to one another forming the core of the film. Monty is a streetwise kid from a tough Irish neighbourhood, who had the brains to get further than most his peers, albeit through an illegal route. Benioff and Lee are careful to neither condone Monty's occupation nor pass any moral judgment; having a convicted heroin dealer as a central character is a tough sell – make him too likable and you end up glamourising his dangerous, corrupt lifestyle; make him too ruthless and you're left with a deeply unsympathetic central figure. Luckily, as in Fight Club, Edward Norton proves adept at giving a real edge to a generally likable man. There's a tremendous scene in which Monty launches into a tirade against every racial and occupational group he can think of while staring at his own reflection in a bathroom mirror – blacks, Jews, Koreans, Russians, Wall Street traders, the Catholic church, Islamic fundamentalists – before turning on himself and the way in which he's messed up his life: "Fuck you Monty Brogan" he spits. Lee doesn't need to condemn Monty, because at this late hour Monty himself realises his fatal mistake – he simply got too greedy.

Ironically, because his fate has already been decided, as a character Monty isn't nearly as interesting his two childhood friends, fast-talking womanising city trader Frank and nervous, emotionally repressed teacher Jakob. This trio really have nothing in common other than the fact they were friends as kids, but Monty's impending departure from their lives inevitably draws them close. We learn more about Jakob than Frank, and there is an amusing subplot concerning his unhealthy desire for 17-year-old student Mary (Anna Paquin). But both are having a tough time realising Monty will soon be gone – Frank is convinced they may never see him again (at the same time trying to reassure Monty with promises of a professional future together once he gets out that they both know will never happen), while Jakob naively believes than life will return to normal seven years down the line. Hoffman and Pepper are superb – Hoffman's character is one he has visited before, but both have a chemistry that makes you believe they have known each other all their lives. Meanwhile the ubiquitous Cox is as reliable as ever, warm but aloof and unwilling to condemn his son's crimes – partly because he was happy to take Monty's drug money when he needed cash to clear his debts and keep his bar open.

Most of Lee's trademarks are here – a sweeping orchestral score from Terence Blanchard (Lee is quite old-fashioned in the way uses his soundtrack, scoring many dramatic scenes where other directors might omit music), Barry Alexander's Brown inventive, punchy editing, restless camerawork and a vaguely theatrical air to proceedings. One of the faults to which even the director's best films can be prone is unsatisfactory endings; witness unnecessary codas to Malcolm X, Bamboozled and Jungle Fever. Here, Lee concocts an extravagant fantasy sequence in which Monty imagines an alternative life that awaits him if he runs instead of going to prison – it starts intriguing then builds to the frankly silly, but Lee just about saves the ending by cutting to a moving final shot of Monty back in reality. Occasional moments of melodrama aside then, 25th Hour is a powerful piece of film-making, tautly written, morally complex and blessed with tremendous performances.
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 10057 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Spike Lee  (1957 - )

Talented, prolific American director who has courted more controversy than most with his out-spoken views and influenced an entire generation of black film-makers. Lee made his impressive debut with the acerbic sex comedy She's Gotta Have It in 1986, while many consider his study of New York race relations Do the Right Thing to be one of the best films of the 80s.

Lee's films tend to mix edgy comedy and biting social drama, and range from the superb (Malcolm X, Clockers, Summer of Sam) to the less impressive (Mo Better Blues, Girl 6), but are always blessed with passion and intelligence. Lee has acted in many of his films and has also directed a wide range of music videos, commercials and documentaries. Inside Man saw a largely successful try at the thriller genre, Oldboy was a misguided remake, but he welcomed some of his best reactions of his career to true crime story BlacKkKlansman.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: