Most of the movie reviews I have done will in some way, shape or form, have something in common, whether it is a love of a certain actor, director or direction as it were. I have loved movies since a child and seeing as I was an only child and a bit of a loner, I used to lose myself in books and film. I was bullied for five years at school and I used to turn up and get my name signed in the register and then go off to our local ABC cinema for the day. It used to cost fifty pence and you could stay in all day and watch a movie over and over again. This made me appreciate the work that goes into making a movie more. When I left school I already had an appreciation of the structure and method of a movie and I used to have favourite directors more than favourite actors.
I mention this now because the movie I am about to review stars my favourite actor and is directed by one of my top three directors.
The 25th Hour Film and DVD review
The 25th Hour is a special movie for me in many ways. The lead role is played by my favourite actor, Edward Norton and is directed by one of my favourite directors, Spike Lee. The rest of the cast and crew are full of precocious talent such as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper. What makes this movie so harrowing and emotional is the fact that it is set around New York at ground Zero, not long after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
The movie was adapted in 2002 from David Benioff's novel by the same name.
The movies tag line 'Can you change your whole life in a day?' is a question that is open to a lengthy debate and as a different answer depending on your outlook on life.
Ed Norton plays the main character in the movie, Monty Brogan, who has twenty-four hours to go before he starts a seven year prison sentence for dealing drugs. He lived a swanky lifestyle over the last few years and alienated himself from his family and friends. He is not too sure whether his girlfriend, played by Rosario Dawson, is the person who gave him up to the police. His relationship with her would suggest otherwise but Monty does not know and the audience is also kept guessing. Monty has seemingly learned his lesson and will pay with seven years hard time at a very notorious penitentiary.
He has vowed to himself that he will spend the next twenty-four hours patching up his differences with his family and friends. He has arranged to meet his two oldest friends for drinks on the evening and will first visit his father, who he feels he has let down. Monty is searching his soul and his own inner demons, not to find answers but to someway atone for his sins. Then just maybe he can spend the next seven years rebuilding instead of wasting time looking back with regret on a shady past that has finally caught up with him.
The idea is that when the twenty-fifth hour arrives, Monty will feel able to deal with the future that awaits him and know that you can't change your life in a day but you can make a damn could start.
The Director and The 25th Hour
Spike Lee is one of my favourite directors along with Pedro Almodovar and Tom Tykwer. The thing that most draws me to Spike is his unerring ability to make movies feel real. You can almost taste the atmosphere and grittiness in most of his films. The 25th Hour is no different. He manages to capture that emptiness that all Americans have felt since 9/11. He also captures that zeal and that damn right stubbornness to carry on, to rebuild and start over. You can feel this underlying the movies central theme of Monty Brogan's life being turned upside down and needed to start again.
Spike is probably best known for his steady cam work and it is again evident in this movie, particularly in one scene. Monty Brogan asks one of his old friends, played by Barry Pepper, to beat him to a pulp so he won't get raped for being a 'pretty boy' in prison. Monty is dazed and confused and Spikes use of the camera in this scene is superb.
Spike is also better known for his work with Black actors and many of his earlier films were mainly all black casts. He has done a lot to fight against oppression and racism and is a critically acclaimed director whose movies pull no punches.
He is also well known for the controversial use of 'A Spike Lee Joint' as a pointer to all his movies. This, unfortunately, in this perfectly politically correct world of ours has been changed to 'A Spike Lee Film'
I really felt that Spike made this movie his own. Even the titles when they come up display the New York skyline and two huge beams of light shoot into the air, filling the gap where the Twin Towers used to stand. It is a grim reminder of what happened on that infamous day. There is also a point in the film where two of the characters are standing in one of their apartment s and the view from the window looks out on Ground Zero. It is such a poignant moment and you really feel that heaviness and almost helpless feeling of loss.
9/11 is something that is close to everyone's heart and Spike Lee is no different. He really made this movie from the heart and it speaks volumes of this man's compassion as well as his passion to make movies that are true to themselves and true for us all.
The Cast and Crew
Edward Norton as Monty Brogan
Norton gives his usual strong performance in the lead role, playing a character that was probably not that easy to get to grips with. Monty Brogan seems laid back and resigned to his fate but underneath there are a myriad of emotions that Norton had to seize and know when to bring to the fore. He manages this with his usual, seemingly effortless drive that makes him one of the finest actors around today. You can feel Monty Brogan's angst, his despair and his nothingness. Norton underplays the role in many ways to give us that feeling of guilt he is suffering over the fact that he has ruined his life.
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Jacob Elinsky
Let's begin with debunking one of the silly Hollywood myths. Philip is not the son of Dustin Hoffman and Jane Seymour. There, that's that sorted. Hoffman is, like Norton, a one-of-a-kind actor. He always puts his whole into every part he plays. He becomes that person. A fine example of his method acting can be seen in the movie Flawless, alongside Robert DeNiro, where Hoffman plays a transvestite. His character in this movie isn't as well defined as he plays a man struggling to come to terms with the way his friend as turned out and that maybe his life could be much more than an under-paid teaching job that is threatened by the lust of one of his young female students, played by True Blood's Anna Paquin.
Barry Pepper as Frank Slaugherty
Barry Pepper was not that well known when he filmed The 25th Hour. Most of you will know him as one of the prison guards from The Green Mile. Another much underrated actor who delivers in a role that is as unassuming as Hoffman's. Pepper plays another of Brogan's best friends and is actually the one that Brogan asks to beat him up in order to look ugly for his entrance into the prison system. Pepper plays the role well and the scene with Hoffman at the window of the apartment at Ground Zero is intense. You can feel the actor's true emotion underlying their characters.
Brain Cox as James Brogan
Brian Cox is an established actor who played 'Hannibal Lecter' in the original movie ManHunter. He plays James Brogan, who is Monty Brogan's father. In the movie he owns his own bar and there is a scene where Monty meets there with him and they have a conversation at one of the tables. Only people with a true feeling for acting and an appreciation for dialogue and atmosphere will realise what a strong scene in the movie this is. Cox is believable as Monty's father and he and Norton bounce off each other well.
The DVD comes with commentary from Spike Lee and David Benioff and I have watched this, naturally. It gives you a great insight into the ideas and thoughts behind the movie and how it was made. There are some interesting concepts as you can well imagine. Thoughts on 9/11 are also prevalent.
There is also a short documentary called 'The Evaluation of an American movie maker', which gives you a great insight into the career of Spike Lee and is well worth a watch, whether you are a fan or not.
As I have already mentioned, this movie is special to me because of my favourite actor and one of my favourite directors but the one thing that makes me go back to watch it again is that reminder of the most atrocious attack on a city in recent memory. 9/11 shook the world and the scene that is filmed in the apartment overlooking Ground Zero is so harrowing and unsettling that it is hard to describe how it makes me feel. You need to see the movie yourself to see what emotions it provokes.
Many people will find the movie boring but each to their own. I find the dialogue is perfectly in line with the movies theme and each role is played to the actor's best ability. Spike Lee manages the whole thing with a magician's knowledge of how things should look and feel.
The dialogue to the movie is down to the script, which is written by David Benioff, the writer of the novel. That is probably why the dialogue is so strong, because it has been scripted by the person who dreamed it up in the first place.
I like the fact that Monty spends most of the movie with his dog, Doyle, who he eventually gives to Jacob, Philip Seymour Hoffman's character.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this movie is the fact that when they began filming, the Twin Towers still stood. When the atrocity occurred, Spike Lee decided to add it into the movie as a tribute to all the victims and their families.
Another poignant moment for me is when the credits role and 'The Fuse' by Bruce Springsteen is played. I'm a massive Bruce fan and when he wrote 'The Rising' in memory of 9/11 I was again in awe of his compassion. So this song was perfect for the closing credits.
So in summing up, this movie may not be everyone's cup of tea but it is well made and the actors all play a good part and it gives you a glimpse of how life was just after the 9/11 attacks; very haunting and very atmospheric and for me a defining movie, a people movie.
© Lee Billingham
25th Hour is a 2002 Drama film directed by Spike Lee and starring Edward Norton, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson and Brian Cox.
The movie opens as Monty Brogan ( Edward Norton ) sits on a park bench with his dog staring out to the Hudson River, he is approached by a man who we soon discover is a drug addict and customer of Monty's, however it turns out Monty is spending his last day as a free man before spending 7 years in jail after being convicted for drug trafficking.
He plans to spend his last night of freedom in a nightclub with his friends Jacob Elinsky ( Phillip Seymour Hoffman ) and Frank Slaughtery ( Barry Pepper ), along with his girlfriend Naturelle ( Rosario Dawson ), however Monty is suspicious of Naturelle as his partner Kostya tells him that he thinks it was Naturelle who turned him in to the police.
Monty spends the rest of the day righting some wrongs and building some bridges, however he also may have one last plan to avoid prison, and avoid the hard time he will surely face.
25th Hour kind of flew under the radar for me and I didn't really know too much about it until I popped it into the DVD player last night and watched it with my wife, and what a surprise, obviously anything Spike Lee is going to direct is going to be dialogue driven and have a unique feel to it, and the dialogue is really where this movie comes into its own.
Having a group of talented actors such as Edward Norton, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Brian Cox certainly helps when you're trying to tell an emotionally intense story such as this, especially as I mentioned when you're Spike Lee and you rely on acting and dialogue to get your movies watched, and these actors don't disappoint.
The highlights for me are of course Norton who is always an intense individual in his movies, and Barry Pepper who portrays the sleazy wall street type, but also fiercely loyal best friend perfectly, also not forgetting Hoffman and Brian Cox who do their jobs incredibly well.
25th hour benefits from great acting , a great story and of course great scriptwriting, it is slow in places and you ultimately know how the movie will end, but its how each character arrives at the ending that is the key to this movie, definitely an acting masterclass for all involved and a great movie for fans of drama.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Spike Lee is probably the most famous black film director working today; his seminal Do The Right Thing is unmistakably brilliant, and one of his best films is 25th Hour, a fairly low-key release in 2002 that examines society at large, this time under a far broader spectrum, not only limited to blacks and ethnic minorities.
Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) begins the film being caught for drug possession, enough that he is going to be put away for a long time. He has one more day before he is due to be put in prison, and so spends it with his girlfriend, Naturelle (Rosario Dawson), as well as his father (Brian Cox). The film rides the wave of tension surrounding that date, discussing whether it's worth Monty trying to run and seeing how long he can last, or just taking the sentence like a man and hoping that he can survive the harsh reality of a prison.
This is typical Lee all over, for the film has one strange moment - where Norton talks directly to the camera about all of the different races - but while lacking subtlety, it is undeniably powerful, as is the film's overarching narrative, and is typically superbly performed by Norton et al.
Of the Spike Lee films I've seen, this is without a doubt one of the best. While very preachy, as is typical with Lee's films, he makes commentaries across a vast array of cultures as opposed to just a few, and so it seems like a much more mature and balanced view of the world. Norton is superb as always, and the film never relents in its opening precept that this film will have no happy endings.
25th hour is a criminal-drama movie about Monty Brogan who has last day of freedom before he goes to jail for 7 years. He got convicted for selling drugs, and the movie shows his last day of beeing free, he spends this time with best friends from past, father and his girlfriend.
Norton character Monty is really interesting even when he is a drug dealer (person who gets rich using people addictions) he seems to be a really smart and good guy. Probably if there would be other option he would do something different. The movie itself is really interesting because it not only shows Monty's thoughts of going to jail but of his environment as well. Old friends of Monty even when now the trio of them is so different, for this night they become great friends again, so it's going to be easier for Monty. One of friends is a teacher who falls in love with his young student, and he is not sure of what to do, other friend is a cash maker on Wall Street and he hates himself that he did not stop Monty from selling drugs. Montys girlfriend Naturele is being watched and suspected for selling Monty to police by everybody. All those stories add up during the movie so you not only get poor Monty, but his closest family, friends and other drug dealers "life thoughts" that they give him during his last day of freedom.
In this movie you won't find action or fancy visual effects, it's a strong movie with lots of strong and smart sentences, in some moments you might feel bad that you take the side of drug dealer, this movie might help you realize few things that "Gangstas" have their feelings as well and in many situations that's their only option to have good life.
The acting is on high standards, there are few stories going on through one night I would not say it's a good movie for party, it would work better in small group or even would be better if you would watch as I did - alone.
After watching American History X a few days a go we decided to carry on the Edward Norton trend with 25th Hour. I'd seen this film on TV a year or so ago and didn't really pay attention to it but realised i'd have to watch it again sometime, so when I saw this in HMV for only 4 english pounds, I snapped it up!
Once again, like every film he is in, Edward Norton gives a perfect & powerful performance portraying Monty Brogan, a drug dealer, who is about to start a 7 year prison scentence. The film also stars another of my favourite actors, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Brian Cox, who plays Monty's dad & Rosario Dawson who plays Naturelle Riviera, Monty's girlfriend. This is a superb cast.
The film follows Monty in his last 24 hours of freedom as he tries to come to terms with the life that he has been living, and the life that faces him behind bars. He knows that he is not the hardest of guys, and 7 years in prison will be like 7 years in hell.
The film is directed by Spike Lee and every scene has a deep meaning to it and a reason to be included in the film. The "F*** you" scene is one of my favourites. Because of the situation that Monty is in, his rage builds up and overflows as he spews out his hate of everyone. This scene can be quite uncomfortable to watch but it is so powerful and youy realise that everyone tries to blame everyone else when things are going wrong for them!
This really is a great film. It may not be fast-paced and action-packed but it really shows the emotions behind the kind of life Monty was trying to live. If you are a fan of Edward Norton, this is a must watch film as I feel this is one of the strongest charcters he has portrayed.
You can pick up this DVD for under 5 quid now-a-days so you have no excuse not to watch this now! I can't recommend this enough!
'A Spike Lee Joint' are the words that come up within the first few seconds of the opening credits, however if you continue watching you'll find that the film doesn't really seem to resemble a Spike Lee Joint. I wouldn't call myself a fan of his "Joints" being that I've only seen 3 (Mo Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Inside Man) but '25th Hour' really seems to lack familiar elements seen in his previous work. For me though, it is probably the most enjoyable film I've seen from him so far and one of my favourite movies of all time.
It tells the story of Monty Brogan and his last day of freedom before serving seven years in Federal Prison. During this time, he mingles and hangs around with his friends (Jacob Elinsky and Frank Slattery), friends who he has drifted away from over the years. These are his real friends though, friends who he grew up with and who know him better than the guys he usually hangs around with.
He also shares his last moments with his girlfriend Naturelle Riviera (Rosario Dawson) and his father James Brogan (Brian Cox). His father is obviously guilty telling Monty how he wasn't there for him or how he could have been anything he wanted. This air of disappointment and regret is echoed throughout the film. The book expands on these themes though. In the novel written by David Benioff, Monty himself frequently states how he could have been a great fireman. It's a shame that these line were not included since I feel that they really encapsulate the feelings of regret that Monty endures.
The popular "F*** you" scene has to be one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history. Due to the terrible situation that he's in, Monty pretty much spews out hatred towards everyone. Those who think the scene is racist and gratuitous fail to see the point. In moments of anger and pain the majority of us take our frustration out on the world. We cry that other people are to blame for our suffering and sometimes we may actually be right but that is not usually the case. At the end of the rant Monty looks directly in the mirror realising he's wrong and uses the words that he directed at everyone towards himself.
The film is moody, dark and somewhat gritty, how I like most of my films. The music accompanies the scenes perfectly. The main theme is quite fantastic and reminds me of a powerful opera song I stumbled across on YouTube - Una Furtiva Lagrima. The song is frequently played throughout the film in different variations, sometimes a little jazzy, sometimes a little hard-hitting and epic.
Acting is superb. I especially love the acting of Brain Pepper (Frank Slattery) who always seems to portray emotion so realistically, he is without doubt one of the most underrated actors.
Overall '25th Hour' is a fantastic film. Spike Lee managed to adapt a great book into a great movie and he deserves a lot of props.
This movie centres on the experience of knowing what is in store and how you deal with it. The movie is about a drug dealer named Monty who gets caught in possession of laundered money and drugs and winds up with a prison sentence of 8 long years.
This movie is perfect if you are a fan of Films as an art form or if you like to watch a plot unfolding as the characters of the movie are explored. This is not the movie for you if you are looking for a movie to Vege out to and definitely should be paused if youre going to leave the room.
You will probably find that this is one of the rare movies which appear better after a few viewings, and I would recommend watching it a couple of times just so that you can establish which scenes are flashbacks and which are a continuation of the story.
25th Hour was one of my favourite films of last year. Yet like a lot of Spike Lee films, it was overlooked on release and lost amongst the summer blockbusters and big Hollywood fare. That?s a real shame as it?s a great drama about friendship, regret and leaving all you have behind. Ed Norton play?s Monty, a drug dealer who has finally been caught. He is about to go to jail for his crime but has a final 24 hours to live in freedom. It is time for him to put friendships in perspective and say goodbye to his family. Monty is not a bad guy, he?s just misguided and made a mistake he will have to pay for. In his last hours Monty meets up with some old friends, truths come to light and Monty tries to discover who set him up, all his theories point to his girlfriend. Unlike most Spike Lee movies, this is one without a lot of social commentary. However Lee manages to create a slow burning and well-acted film. As it was shot in the 9/11 aftermath he manages to create a powerful sequence about that destruction within the film. Ed Norton is excellent as the lead character and he is well supported by the likes of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper as his two friends. However the best moments come when Norton shares the screen with Brian Cox as his father. The end sequence for me is an awesome piece of film-making as Lee gives Cox a great narrative to lay over the top of a powerful dream sequence. For me it was one of the best things I?d seen on the big screen in a long time. Some dismissed 25th Hour as boring. Well that?s an easy thing to say, but this is what films are about. It?s not always slam-bang entertainment. I hope there?s more room for films like this and hopefully an audience isn?t jaded enough to not stick with the pace. I would recommend this film to anyone as a rental and especially a purchase. The dvd presentation of the film is excellent. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is very sharp. It certainly highlights th
e richness of the cinematography and certainly shows off Manhattan in a gritty hot but real fashion. Normally dramatic films don?t have much outlet for a great 5.1 soundtrack. However this film ha some great moments for the surrounds. The sequence in the nightclub sounds amazing while Terrance Blanchard?s score resonates. Extras wise you get a quality package focused on quality rather than masses of content. Two commentary tracks accompany the film. The first is with Spike Lee and as always he is a very engaging speaker. He divulges a lot on the making of the film as well as his thoughts on shooting in the aftermath of 9/11. Meanwhile the track with writer David Benioff gives a good account of writing the screenplay as well as the book that the film is based on. "The Evolution of an American Filmmaker" is a good 30-minute documentary on Spike Lee and features a good insight into the director from some of his collaborators. Actors such as Denzel Washington and Halle Berry talk about his contribution to black cinema as well as film-making in general. Overall it?s a good look as Lee?s career. The deleted scenes section throws up a few good scenes that overall didn?t fit the context of the film but are good to view on their own. There is also a short montage of the ground zero footage in the film backed by Blanchard?s score. It really needs no mention as it?s a poignant moment in the film. 25th Hour is a great purchase for anyone who likes Spike Lee. It?s certainly not for everyone but I certainly loved it.
Shocking as it is for yours truly being as in to movies as he is - I've hardly ever seen any movies that were directed or produced by Spike Lee, in fact I'll go as far as saying that 25th Hour is in fact the first ever Spike Lee Directed movie I've ever seen, and as I walked out of the Cinema all those months ago (I saw it back in May) I hung my head in shame at that fact, as I?d just seen what can only be classed as a top quality piece of cinematography. ** The Story ** Based on a novel by David Benioff of the same name, The 25th Hour follows the story of Montgomery Brogan (played excellently by Edward Norton) who's been cornered by the D.E.A. for drugs-dealing, and is now facing up to the prospect of serving a 7-year jail-term for his crimes, and now Brogan is re-evaluating everything he's done in his life in the last 24 hours before he starts his case. What follows is a gritty hard-hitting story of a broken man, of someone who realises that the perfect life he thought he had was all eventually going to come crashing around his ears, and that ultimately a life of crime won't pay. Then you add on the raw emotion that is played out in scenes involving Brogan and his friends as they realise that its going to be a long time before they see each other and it really is a movie that makes you sit back and think, but enough of that - on with the review. ** The Cast ** Montgomery Brogan (Played by Edward Norton): I don't think I?ve yet seen a movie involving Ed Norton that I haven't absolutely adored - he has this presence on-screen that is un-matched, and be it a mild-mannered insomniac claims assessor or a desperate drug dealer spending his last 24 hours in freedom, he never turns in a bad performance. The character of Brogan to be honest is one that must have been made for him, always just a little bit mysterious, but at the same time always having a caring side as well, and the script
he's been given is an absolute blinder, and one that only Norton could deliver in a believable way. What I'm trying to say is that everything Norton does on screen is pure class, there's never a time I thought that he shouldn?t have been there, or that perhaps he shouldn't have done something - it was all spot on. Naturelle Riviera (played by Rosario Dawson): An actress I?ve never seen anything of before but someone who I'd like to see again - her part was just a bit-part, but still - it was a bit-part played well, all the time her character was again showing genuine concern for Brogan (who also happened to be her boyfriend), and never once did it seem wrong. If this is the style of acting that Dawson is going to put into all her performances then the first thing I have to say is Halle Berry who? As this girl is quite well prepared to take over from her mantle as the best black actress in the business today. Jacob Elinsky (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman): One of Brogan's 2 friends that he chooses to spend his last day as a free man with, and is also the one providing some of the slight comedy stylings that are at times needed to lighten the mood. When I first saw him on-screen I thought he was going to just not fit in with the story at all, but after seeing his scenes with Anna Paquin (who played his student) and their little side-story, it was obvious that he was a welcome addition to the film - add in the camaraderie that's being shown between him and Brogan and you have the loyal friend character down to a tee - being played excellently I might add. Frank Slaughtery (played by Barry Pepper): The big hot-shot City Trader character that again I thought might just not fit in with the whole essence of the movie and all the way through he is a bit of a dark horse - but that's not to say that his performance is bad though! All through he seems to be the one that keeps the
group calm, the dry voice when everyone else is losing their heads and always showing his friendship with Brogan as well, whilst still showing that he has a cut-throat will in the way of his work - and although occasionally he teeters on the edge of being a stereotypical Hollywood stock-broker he always seems to come back and puts in a great performance. Mary D'Annunzio (played by Anna Paquin): Don't ask me why (because I don't know) but I've always had a thing for Anna Paquin - but that doesn't seem to matter with this role as she plays the student teen seductress of her tutor Elinsky, helping to provide a good side-story to the main plot. Throughout the movie she does seem to give out an air of youthful exuberance and is always bouncing around the screen much as you would expect a teenager to do, but its actually a very grown-up performance that she puts in and her reaction after Elinsky makes his move is one of the best I've seen on the big screen in a while. ** Location ** Showing the dark dirty streets of the US and then moving to one of the many expensive night-clubs the movie does well to diversify the scenery that the audience sees, and the set-builders have done well in their attempts to show viewers that every American city is like this, and their hard work has paid off as well. ** Soundtrack and Ending ** The Soundtrack is one that was scored by Terence Blanchard and it adds a great edge to the movie being one that's always 'there' but never too over-bearing and always just audible enough, and it always seems to tie the movie up just right. With regards to the ending it was just good - it was different to what the audience expected and it served well to make the movie stick in all the viewers minds for weeks (and in my case months) to come. ** Overall ** It's absolutely fantastic, I could leave it at that but I won't - it's got
everything a movie needs to have - great direction, acting, soundtrack and location then add on that it never once lets the crowds mind wander and its well worth anybody shelling out money for - the first chance you get to see this, do so, you won't regret it.
There aren't many directors who you can honestly say will always deliver. Sure there's a few but occasionally everyone of them will deliver a mis-fire, something that just doesn't match up to their previous work. Spike Lee is one of those directors who constantly makes films that perhaps don't work on all levels but alway leave you with something and most of the time it's questions. His previous film Bamboozled perhaps fizzled out towards it's end but it still raised some interesting themes. 25th Hour is Spike's new joint and is currently playing in theatres across the UK but perhaps for the last week as the summer blockbusters all start to queue up. It's my reccomendation that you don't let this film pass you by and here's why. Edward Norton plays Monty Brogan, a New York drug dealer who in 24 hours will go to prison for a seven year stretch. His former high life is now about to go and he's left with a day to reconnect with the people in his life from his close friends through to his family. There are his two childhood friends Jacob (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and Slaughtery (Barry Pepper), his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) and his father (Brian Cox). Each of them is left to examine what they could have done to stop Monty from going down the path that led to his sentence. But some of them also have other thing to deal with such as Jacob having feelings for one of his college students (Anna Paquin). Now this could have easily been a film that in the wrong hands could have turned into some saccherine redemption story. Instead Lee turns the idea into something that sticks in your memory for other reasons as well. A lot of films set in New York have since gone on to erase the image of the Twin Towers from the Manhattan skyline. Lee has always had New York as his backdrop and he doesn't shy away from the fact that the buildings are no longer with us. He makes his point straight away in a si
mple but impressive opening title sequence. Later on in the film he stages a dialogue scene looking directly down over the clear-up operation going on at Ground Zero. Lee shouldn't be applauded, he'e simply showing the truth of New York when others think people can't deal with it. The acting in the film is excellent all round. Edward Norton dominates the screen as Monty and gives an assured performance. Sure it's not showy but I think it's a shame he was completely overlooked come awards time at the beginning of the year. Dawson is also great and shows that she's better than the mediocre likes of Men In Black 2 when given the chance. Pepper and Hoffman are accomplished actors and here they give some good solid performances. Paquin doesn a great job with what is essentially a limited role. But the best performance aside from Norton is by Brian Cox, his role is probably the smallest yet you feel his prescence throughout. This is probably in part to the script but by the end it really pays off as the end reel is completely narrated by Cox and proves to be memorable and incredibly moving stuff. Spike Lee's direction is excellent throughout as he delivers some great warmth in the visuals and also keeps things interesting through the entire two hours even though not a great deal happens outside this close knit circle of characters. There are films which just have characters talking and end up completely dull. Yet Lee fills the film with some good diversions and style. The script by David Benioff is also great and comes from his own book. I haven't read the source material but he seems to have taken what works in the book and throw it on the screen. A big plus is also the score by Terence Blanchard which becomes a major character throughout. Any film with memorable themes always makes a mark in my mind and again the music just enhances and makes perfect the ending to this film. Some have dismissed this as boring bu
t frankly they don't appreciate what makes a film great. This has all the things I look for in a great movie, good acting, good visuals, good music and good direction. If you like Spike Lee or just appreciate good movies then this is one film that I would reccomend you not miss when you get a chance to see it.
Cornered by the DEA, convicted New York drug dealer Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton) re-evaluates his life in the 24 remaining hours before facing a seven-year jail term. The stellar cast of Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, and Anna Paquin is directed by veteran and Hollywood darling Spike Lee.