If I had one last day in the real world before a prison senteance, I’d party non-stop.
This is the story of the last 24 hours Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) gets to spend with his two best friends — Frank (Barry Pepper), a bonds trader, and Jakob (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a high school English teacher — and his girlfriend, Naturelle (Rosario Dawson), before he goes to prison for 7 years for pushing heroin. As they plan to party the night away in New York City one last time, Monty tries to touch base with his father (Brian Cox).
This is one of those films that you have to watch if you really want to know how everything looked, felt, and was in New York City post-9/11.
Much of the credit of this film has to go to the always amazing director Spike Lee. I want to salute him for shooting this film the way it was post-9/11, and having his characters acknowledge it without exploiting any wounds that are still raw. This is probably one of most straight-forward films that doesn’t hide behind too much racist symbolism, and gives you the heart0felt tale.
Lee uses a lot of these jump-cuts, and visual looks that are actually very astonishing. However, he doesn’t quite use the visuals to his advantage and keeps a hold on the story. As the film progresses we get flashbacks of Norton’s life and how his life came to be now, and as we go on longer we know more and more about him every time. Also, we understand his feelings about the loss, doubt, fear, and regret, about all of the decisions he has made in his life, and through this film and it’s story that moves on, we can connect to him.
However, I wasn’t happy with the ending. I didn’t think that we should have left all of this whole film up to us. I still felt like there was something that needed to be done before it ended and we never got that. I think the ending needed to be more straight-forward and likable.
The real heart of this film lies within its characters and their amazing performances. Norton is the main reason of why to see this film, he carries it all the way with his great charisma, that shows his anger, depression, and regret all at the same time. We actually don’t hate him, he’s just a guy that did bad stuff, but yet we feel bad for him. The supporting cast of Seymour Hoffman, Pepper, Dawson, and Cox are just amazing and the one thing I mostly liked about these characters is that they are just like Norton’s by the fact that they also have some ugliness to their characters and have all done something wrong just like him.
Consensus: 25th Hour has a less than powerful ending, but is backed by a fearless direction from Lee, true look at New York City post-9/11, and wonderful performances, but mostly due to the riveting performance from Norton.