Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Spike Lee effectively captures the atmosphere of post-9/11 New York in 25th Hour, a sobering film about friendship, guilt, betrayal, and moral ambiguity. Each of the numerous characters carry with them the burden of past errors and transgressions, fighting to come to terms with what they have or haven't done. Edward Norton is typically intense as Monty Brogan, a drug dealer preparing to serve a seven-year prison term. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson and Brian Cox are all great in supporting roles as Monty's ethically dysfunctional circle of friends and family. If one can overlook some odd and jarring editing choices, the film captures the palpable sense of loss experienced by both the characters and the city.
I thought it was boring and I couldn't support any of the characters.
This is an amazing film. Spike Lee directs this masterfully and the cast is amazing. The ending is also heartbreaking. This is definitely my favorite thriller.
25th Hour is a movie based on a book that you can tell used to be a book. It's a faithful adaptation by way of taking the time to extrapolate and portray (and sometimes betray) these characters on screen, the way they snap at each other like only old friends and lovers can, the way they talk behind each others backs, but then have said back when the need arises.
The source material's strengths (and script by a pre-Game of Thrones Benioff) are that the ramifications of the 25th hour are felt by all involved, and these characters are all of them culpable in their own ways, and corrupted, loveable, realistic, twisted and full of shades of grey. The dialogue is biting and lyrical, poignant and captures that real darkness. They accuse each other with the blinkers of themselves on.
Edwards Norton sings, an understated but typically tremendous performance, in fact, every cast member is at the top of their game, Barry Pepper, such an underrated actor is a perfect asshole, Rosario Dawson plays young and old so well in this movie it's like two different people and the incomparable Philip Seymour Hoffman is sad and hilarious. By the morning they all look, walk and talk like haggard older men, out all night, they let themselves be ugly.
Spike Lee has taken someone else's story and taken the state of his soul following 9/11 and he fused them into one story. Lee transposes his heartbreak, angst, pain and anger into this story, it's every bit his work as it is Benioff's book; not only was it cautionary and timely tale at the time, but its messages still resonate today. Spike Lee, a man who could describe New York City as "his city" made a film that reflected its shattered soul. When the camera frames Ground Zero out of focus for a conversation and then racks it into focus and Terence Blanchard's score swells, it's indelibly haunting and moving.
That scene, yes that scene. The Mirror scene. It's a bravura piece of filmmaking, writing and of acting; The jarring poetry of it stirs a dual idea of blame culture (more relevant now even than it was after 9/11) and then when this scene is reflected at the end, the very human idea that it's the things you think you hate about something, is more often than not, were the reasons you maybe actually loved about it.
During that scene and all over 25th Hour is the most soulful soundtrack I've ever heard; it's accusatory and soothing, it's almost constant throughout the film which is novel, and it seems to bleed a kind of unified pain; it has a sense of collective mourning, and the voices of the dead. It speaks for those that aren't there. It says the things that no one in the film does.
And that ending. I won't say anything about it suffice to say that it's also such a bold commitment, doubling down on the real pain of that 25th hour; just as powerful as the slow-start and slow reveal of what this film is even about. Even though I've never been in Monty's situation, there's that feeling; missing time, missed opportunities, passing over to new life, changes you made but never knew would happen, something like that, that pervades this entire film and makes it completely relatable in some esoteric and deeply human way.
25th Hour is my favourite Spike Lee movie. It has all of his hallmarks, his passions and his knowledge, but it's different, it's the New Yorker in him that made this film, not his race, it's a film that's more relevant than ever. It comes from deep within; when a person in this film embraces and the editing tries to snatch the same moment twice or three times, almost overlapping, you can palpably feel the characters try and snatch that moment back as if in protest to the shortness in time and amount of these moments left in their lives, or like the mind trying to remember the moments in the past that really mattered, when two people came together.
Spike Lees most under rated film. I love it.
Spike Lee's best movie.
Arguably one of the most intriguing movie of it's time. Giving A different perspective and one of the best from Edward Norton!!!
This was a decent little film that featured some great performances, some inspired directorial choices and an unfortunate touch of sexism. Is it one of the greatest films of the 21st century? No, I don't think so but in terms of dealing with 9/11 and the fallout that it caused it is second only to Margaret (2011). I'm not very familiar with Spike Lee's oeuvre, having only seen one other film that he's directed in Blackklansman (2018), but he's clearly a director who is passionate about showing the tensions present in New York City and he is able to direct actors to giving some of their best performances. This is a film worth watching if you are looking for an interesting character study trapped inside a slightly uneven film.
Monty Brogan, Edward Norton, is a drug dealer who is spending his final day before serving a seven year prison sentence in New York with his girlfriend Naturelle, Rosario Dawson, his father James, Brian Cox, and his friends, arrogant banker Frank, Barry Pepper, and shy teacher Jacob, Philip Seymour Hoffman. He begins to suspect that it was Naturelle who revealed his illegal activities to the authorities, placing further strain on their relationship, while he and his father attempt to come to terms with how Monty's life has ended up. The night ends with a party being thrown at a night club for Monty at which Jacob is seduced by his provocative student Mary, Anna Paquin, and Frank provokes him into defending Naturelle.
The high point of the film, to me, came in the final moments as Cox displays why he is such a respected actor and delivers a frenzied monologue in which he describes a fantastical future for his son in which he is able to run away and assume a new identity. The sequence is emotionally affecting as we see Monty growing old and having children with Naturelle, the ideal life, but we then cut back to reality swiftly and realize that will not be Monty's life and he will be left to rot in a prison cell. We see fantasies represented very literally throughout the film as we see still shots of exactly what the voice over describes and this straightforward expression of the desires of the characters feels more authentic than any attempt at subtlety in a very non-subtle film.
The performances of Pepper and Hoffman are also fantastic as they play thoroughly dislikable characters as sympathetic or at least very watchable people. Pepper spits out his lines venomously as he spews dialogue that sounds like it would be delivered without a touch of irony by Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987). The lack of self awareness he possesses while still being obnoxious makes him oddly watchable and Pepper is unrelenting in showing his character to be awful. Hoffman gets a very difficult role as he plays a man who lusts after his underage student, if he acted on his desires it would be a criminal offense, but in a way that seems strangely innocent. The film provides a conclusion to this plotline that is satisfactory as we see both characters horrified by their actions when they do kiss but it doesn't do an American Beauty (1999) and portray Jacob as a savior of sorts. The acting in the film is amazing and it lifts a story that feels choppy at times above being an interesting but not fully realized independent film.
My major issue with the film was the portrayal of female characters, particularly Naturelle, as Dawson is sexually objectified while playing a character with very little to do. We see her for long stretches of time in close up shots of her body while lights flash around her and it felt gratuitous instead of offering anything to the plot. Although her character technically effects the plot significantly Dawson gets nothing to do but lounge around in bathtubs and appear as a sexy schoolgirl. I so wanted Lee to have a more nuanced portrayal of women in his film but instead the film verged on being a Roger Corman vehicle for minutes at a time. Even a small misstep can lower a film to being just average when it verged on greatness and unfortunately this was one of those for me.
The best movie score ever composed!
A powerful journey of a conflicted individual. Excellent acting and writing.