• R, 2 hr. 14 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Spike Lee
    In Theaters:
    Jan 10, 2003 Wide
    On DVD:
    May 20, 2003
  • Touchstone Pictures

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25th Hour Reviews

Page 1 of 208
Dan S

Super Reviewer

June 25, 2007
A riveting, hard hitting look on the life of a soon to be con (Edward Norton), and his final day of freedom as he spends it with his childhood friends (Barry Pepper and Philip Seymour Hoffman) and girlfriend (Rosario Dawson), as he tries to uncover who ratted him out on selling drugs that landed him a 7-year sentence. Norton, one of the best actors on the planet, is spellbinding, and a terrific supporting cast to go along with the fantastic storytelling of Brian Cox near the end makes it a knockout. For those who love films that effortlessly detail their characters, who we come to care for, this is a movie for you. The ending is one of the most unique I can recall, and the ambiguous nature of it is really haunting stuff.
JonathanHutchings
JonathanHutchings

Super Reviewer

April 28, 2011
Spike Lee is a tremendous filmmaker. Sure, he can be a little overzealous and his politics can be stifling, but it's sort of tragic how he's seemingly more known for his controversial subject matter than he is for being an outstanding (and important) director. Indeed, he is one of very few who can simultaneously pull off being a sound visual stylist and a thorough storyteller. Next to Do The Right Thing, there may be no better example of this than 25th Hour.

One of the first American movies explicitly set in New York after 9/11, this film is based on a novel by David Benioff (who also wrote the screenplay) that was published well before the attacks. In any case, their aftermath is not so much the topic of Mr. Lee's movie as an important element of its atmosphere. In one of the film's most memorable scenes, two characters talk in an apartment overlooking ground zero, whose floodlighted glare and somber activity make it impossible to concentrate on the dialogue: a case of reality overwhelming fiction. There are also more subtle nods to the aftermath of those horrific events, but Lee smartly doesn't ovedo it; he uses the sociopolitical landscape of a post-9/11 America to great effect here, weaving it into the fabric of his story as a means to enhance, not distract.

Undoubtedly, the show-stopping scene in the film is a moment when Monty (Edward Nortion), staring into a men's room mirror, launches into a profane tirade against his fellow New Yorkers (and everyone else). His rage is impressively ecumenical, encompassing blacks, brutal police officers, gays, Osama bin Laden, the rich, the poor and every other ethnic or social type you can think of: all of them put down with ruthless, scabrous precision. Obviously the sequence is very reminiscent of a similar scene in Do The Right Thing, but surprisingly, it's equally as effective here as it was back then (which could be viewed as a powerful statement on how little progress we've made over the years).

Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the brilliantly ambiguous ending. It is Lee's mission statement that this isn't a film about a plot, with a beginning, middle, and end. This is an imprint of the isolated times we live in. Who are we as a people? How do we define ourselves in relation to others? The whole film plays in a subdued, almost depressing tone. There are no laughs to be had, no falsely engineered moments where the characters break bread, and cry, and get all remorseful -- none of that. We feel as Monty feels: perplexed, distressed, unsure of those things to come and angry for how he happened to arrive at this place, and moment, in his life -- his last 25 hours.
Mark W

Super Reviewer

February 23, 2011
During the early to mid-1990's Spike Lee was a director who could do no wrong in my eyes. His films were of a very high calibre and then he hit a dip in form, seemingly never recovering. This however, was a reminder of how good he can be.
Based on the novel by David Benioff - who also wrote the screenplay, it tells the story of Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) a Manhattan drug dealer who has to confront the choices he has made in life on his last day before serving a seven-year prison sentence. He spends his last 24hours of freedom with his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) his father (Brian Cox) and his two best friends Frank (Barry Pepper) and Jake (Philip Seymour Hoffman), all the while determining who really sold him out.
This is a Spike Lee "joint" I don't mind taking a hit off, at all. Filled with very intense and dramatic conversations and confrontations between the characters, delivered with superb performances. Norton and Hoffman have already cemented their reputations but Pepper is a highly under-rated actor that I predict will be winning awards very soon with the quality he consistantly delivers. It's a real joy to watch them bounce off each other, adding real gravitas to some well written dialogue. Lee's direction is also up close and personal, giving it a further sense of realism. The post 9/11 psyche of New Yorkers is a running theme throughout and even one scene has two characters overlooking ground-zero as they discuss the end of an era. Lee also explores the multi-cultural diversity of the city, like he has done previously in "Do The Right Thing" and "Jungle Fever", among others. The diversity is also played out in the three friends, with very different values. It's an ambitious film with nearly every other scene or character, subtly displaying metaphor for the fragile state of the city they inhabit.
Despite a running time that slightly overstays it's welcome, this is a highly charged and thought-provoking allegory of capitalist America and boasts three superlative, indefatigable performances from Norton, Pepper & Hoffman.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

February 21, 2011
I'm going to go out there and say that this is my favorite movie Spike Lee has made. Sure, it's nowhere near political or what you might expect from Spike Lee's filmography, but that's kind've why I like it so much. This is surprisingly the most different looking movie I've seen from Spike Lee. The story structure is extremely original and the characters are introduced in such a perfect way that it makes you question why it's not more highly regarded. Edward Norton always throws in his all, but this is truly his most introverted character. While he might not say all that much, we can always see what is going on in his head. Even people like Barry Pepper turn in good performances here, it just goes to show how strong the story and direction is.
Albert K

Super Reviewer

December 29, 2010
Can't really say that I've enjoyed this movie. It might possibly be a rewatch for me. I don't understand how this movie has gotten so much praise. The premise, while interesting, wasn't enough. Didn't seem to be a life changing thing.
familiar s

Super Reviewer

January 9, 2010
Went for it thinking of it as an action crime movie, which it wasn't. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out to be a pleasant chance encounter either. The 2+ hour duration only worsened the experience. Definitely not my cup of tea.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 3, 2009
A very dramatic opening leads to a very powerful yet subtle film. Its the best post 9/11 that doesn't so much deal with the actually disaster itself but acts as a social commentary to the atmosphere in New York at that time, albeit through the eyes of a condemned man, trying to right his wrongs before facing time in jail. Powerful stuff.
CloudStrife84
CloudStrife84

Super Reviewer

April 9, 2007
Great script, nice cast and an altogether captivating crime drama. As always, Edward Norton pulls of an astonishing performance and out-acts the rest of the cast (even if they all do a brilliant job with their characters). The plot progresses at a pretty slow rate, but it compensates for that with a superb narrative and well-written dialogue. Another thing worthy of mentioning is the soundtrack; it's beautifully composed and fit perfectly with what was happening on screen. Those and other great elements made this into a highly enjoyable watch. So out of the few Spike Lee movies I've seen so far, this is without doubt my favourite one.
cosmo313
cosmo313

Super Reviewer

August 3, 2006
Brilliant acting, great writing, and strong direction highlight this powerful drama about a man who's got around a day to find redemption/tie-up loose ends before doing a 7-year sentence in Otisville Prison for a drug charge. I really liked this movie. There's really not much to complain about. All of the aforementioned elements make this film worth seeing, and to top it all off, Terence Blanchard's score is unforgettable, and really haunting.
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
LorenzoVonMatterhorn

Super Reviewer

August 15, 2007
A Spike Lee joint with some attitude. The story is about a guy named Montgomery Brogan (Norton) who is convicted of drug charges, reevaluates his life in the 24 remaining hours before facing long, long jail term. Director Spike Lee takes the film into a whole new level of pain, anger, regret, depression and how fucked up the world can be.

Acting's top-notch all around. Philip Seymour Hoffman portrays the slurred slo-mo of drunkenness wonderfully, it's too bad my only complaint with the film is that his relationship with his student could have used more of a resolution. But perhaps the whole point is that it's left open. Hoffman's conversation in front of the window with Barry Pepper, who definitely holds his own, is just amazing. And of course, there's Edward Norton's f*ck-you salute to New York, which speaks for itself.
Eric S

Super Reviewer

May 10, 2008
Edward Norton turns in a brilliant performance as Monty in this mesmerizing yet gloomy tale of a man's last 24 hours before he serves a seven year prison sentence. Rosario Dawson portrays his girlfriend Naturelle who's intentions are quite dubious; or are they?
Fernando Rafael Q

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2007
Spike Lee masterfully directs one of the best scripts ever to hit the screen... The highlight is definitely the mirror monologue. Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson and Brian Cox are all great. Anna Paquin doesn't measure up to them. Really nice score and photography.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

April 7, 2007
A very interesting and difficult meditation on responsibility, masculinity and friendship, this is the first major film to be shot in post-9/11 New York (a responsibility that could possibly fall to no one better than Spike Lee). Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson and Philip Seymour Hoffman shine in their roles supporting Edward Norton, and perhaps the most interesting reading of this film, for me, was one in which we let Monty (Norton) stand as an allegorical figure for America itself... running around doing whatever he can to make big bucks and curry favour where necessary and to his advantage...

The attack on the World Trade Center cut right to the heart of capitalist America, and in combining the post-9/11 setting with the questions of responsibility for one's actions, Lee has put together a very good film. Monty, in the end, must pay for his mistakes, as must his friends, who stood by until it was too late and seem to have supported his behaviour in a textbook passive-aggressive manner; and while I will never suggest that America deserved to be attacked, it might be plausible to suggest that, due to their foreign policy choices over the past 50 years, they, like Monty, in a sense had it coming.

The dark side of self-interest and self-involvement comes to the fore in the form of a latent and primal (male) competitive instinct, and all three men, friends since their youngest years, are irreparably damaged.

Though the movie jumps around a lot in the first half, it comes back on track beautifully in the end to hammer its point home: no one can escape responsibility for their actions. It all makes for a really, really good movie.
Al S

Super Reviewer

August 15, 2006
A masterpiece. Director, Spike Lee's best film in year's. A cool, slick grove of a movie. Intoxicating and terifficly addictive. A story of redemption and self-destruction. Utterly powerful. Riveting and teriffically bittersweet. It's explosive and extroadinary. An exercise in character driven humanity and emotions. Stirring drama in top form. A film you cant turn away from. A powerhouse, amazing and effective all-star cast. Edward Norton is brilliant. Barry Pepper is electrifying. Brian Cox is magnificent. Phillip Semour Hoffman is a stellar. Simply perfect. A strong, superb and unforgettable movie.
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2006
Monty Brogan: Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends.
All: Cheers!

A Spike Lee joint with all the familiar trade marks, visuals, and a stellar cast. Everyone brings the A-game, especially Ed Norton who is great as a busted drug dealer, who has just one day to settle the things in his life before he goes to jail, essentially ending his old life.

Jakob Elinsky: What do we say to him?
Frank Slaughtery: We say nothin'. The guy's going to hell for seven years, what are going do wish him luck?

His friends, girlfriends, and father are played by actors who know what they are doing. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin, and Brian Cox are all great here.

Like in most Lee joints, the soundtrack sets a good tone for the movie, with a downbeat jazzy quality, mixed with some other music cues to go along with some of the themes, and a few good hip hop beats as well.

The cinematography is also admirable. With a number of scenes that use a variety of different film stock, along with some creative and subtle camera work.

Another part of the film that is handled well is the dealing with the aftermath of 9/11. A great job is done with the opening credits showing a certain setup done after the event as well as a scene later in the movie showing a visual aftermath of what had happened. Spike Lee is a New Yorker, and he does use this film to convey some of his feelings on the subject.

All that being said, the movie can also be very funny with a lot of good human comedy. The opening scene easily sets the tone for how enjoyable this movie is, while taking the other aspects very serious as well.

A very good character study about people dealing with themselves and their friends lives.

Uncle Nikolai: This is my advice to you: When you get there, figure it out who's who. Find the man nobody's protecting. A man without friends. And beat him until his eyes bleed. Let them think you are little bit crazy, but respectful, too. Respectful of the right men.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

August 4, 2006
This film I find quite hard to rate, Ed Norton's performance was really good as always and the opening scene really grabs your attention striaght away, various other parts of the film were good too. There is a speech from Ed Norton, that practically insulted everyone, I should imagine if this film had been popular, everyone would have remembered and referred to.

Despite all the good parts mentioned, there were a lot of boring scenes. The message in this film if quite clearly conveyed, but the storyline I felt was quite weak and there could have been a lot more they couldn've added. I will take one good quote from it though 'Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends"
arashxak
arashxak

Super Reviewer

September 15, 2007
Something is wrong with this movie but I don't know what, Maybe my expectations were too high
thmtsang
thmtsang

Super Reviewer

July 14, 2007
Interesting movie about a man's last 24 hours.
Emily A

Super Reviewer

April 3, 2007
This movie is very character-driven and lets you see into the snapshot day before Edwarfd Norton goes to prison. It's easy to get attached to all these characters, because the dialogue and performances all seem so real. "It's you and me and Doyle."
Jens S

Super Reviewer

February 25, 2007
The last day of freedom for a drug dealer before facing seven years of prison. Given the great names this movie contains and the interesting idea I somehow expected more. Sure, there is great acting and cinematography, the good soundtrack growls fatefully in the background. But overall it's just not very exciting or interesting what happens during that day. This had more potential, like some of the better scenes indiate.
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