25th Hour Reviews
Viewed this on 8/2/16
Spike Lee excesses? What the fuck is that? This may be his best film (perhaps Malcolm X is better) and it is such a beautiful film with terrific performance from Edward Norton along with fine supporting performances from Brian Cox, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The 'Fuck you' scene is one of the best scenes I have ever seen. The cinematography is so terrific and full of bright coloured shots that it's a joy to watch each scene. The film tackles a difficult premise with intelligence and realistic sense without making it feel excessive. I loved the ending as well.
In those 24 hours he tries to come along with his father, Naturelle his girlfriend, and Frank and Jacob 2 of his elementary school best friends. The movie spots the lights on the importance of choices one take throughout his life. In this few hours Monty evaluates his past life and regret the choices he made, and he condemns how he made his own life miserable. The only choice he never regretted instead he mentioned that it was the best of his life was saving the dog that was left for dead on the bridge at the beginning of the movie. Maybe he assumes that since he unconsciously wished that someone could have done the same to him. He maybe wished that someone could stop him from drug dealing before getting caught and being sentenced to jail. Although his friends condemned themselves how they saw him screwing his life, they never actually talked to him. The movie is not only about the story of failure of the protagonist, but also of all those around him to save him. It's about relationships and the collective responsibility it entails.
One of the best scenes in the movie is the "Mirror speech" scene in which the Monty's mirror reflection starts to curse every single ethnic group, race, and even his own friends and family after seeing the words "fuck you" written on the mirror. The scene can be interpreted as a clash between his unconscious and his rationale blended with the principle of "condensation and displacement" by Freud. His reflection in the mirror being part of his unconscious that condenses his desperateness and anger from his life and displaces it into hate for almost everyone in New York City; it can be that he blames everyone in the city in an attempt to escape that his choices were not his fault only. But then at the end of the scene, when he curses himself, it was the time he recognized that it was his own choices that led to what he is in today and no one other than him is responsible for that.
It was not only Monty that acknowledges his failure, his friends as well acknowledged theirs by not helping him; however, Frank was not so clear about this aspect. There was one scene in which both Jacob and frank were talking about what happened to Monty while watching workers cleaning Ground Zero from Frank's apartment window in which Frank criticized Jacob's for believing that they would see Monty again after finishing his jail sentence. However, when he had the same conversation with Monty, Frank ended up saying the exact opposite. He even promises to help Monty get set up when he comes out. And in the same conversation at the window Frank says to Jacob:
Yeah, he got caught. But our old Monty is a fucking drug dealer. Shit. What, are you driving a vintage super V? No? Yeah, he is. Paid for by the misery of the other people. He got caught and will be locked up. And I'll tell you something else; you two are my best friends in the whole world. I love him like a brother, but he fucking deserves it. He deserves it (25th Hour).
After this scene when they all went to a club to enjoy the last few hours with Monty. There he begins to wonder what responsibility does he share in Monty getting into prison. He starts to express these thoughts to Naturalle, Monty's girlfriend. He mentions how he never said a word to discourage Monty from becoming a drug dealer. When she replies that Monty would have never listened anyway to make him feel better, Frank begins to accuse her to be part of Monty's downfall as well. He points out that she is even more to blame because she enjoyed living with Monty from drug money. It could be understood that frank at the beginning did not want to confess to himself that he is part of his friend's fall down, but later he realized that not only him but all of them share the responsibility of Monty continuing drug dealing.
Before the final scene Monty asks Frank to make him look ugly so the prisoners wont think he is good looking and weak in the first day and sexually harass him. He pushed Frank into doing it by telling him "I think you can, you know what I think you want to, too, a little bit. You think I deserve it a little bit. For years you've been giving me that look, like you want to smack some sense into me. This is your chance. I need it, Frank." (25th Hour) He knew frank thought that he deserves all of what is happening to him at one point. So he decided to redeem himself from the slave role he would have played in the prison by ruining his face. It is hard for one to take such a decision, but to get salvation sacrifice was a must.
In the final scene, it was not very clear whether Monty went to jail or ran away to the west as his father advised him. His father, while picking him up to jail so he can turn himself in, took him to a far town in the west where all people there are running away from something so he can disappear and never come back home. There he searched for a job and after a while secretly he contacted Naturalle to come. They lived together and built a big bonded family that cared for each other. All of a sudden, the scene goes back to Monty in his father's car driving down the way. All of that was nothing but a foreshadowing to what he thinks would happen if he takes a choice to escape. This foreshadowing supports that he did actually go to the jail since if he did not the scenes of him going to a far town a building a new life for him would not have been just an imagination in his mind.