Friday, December 5, 2014

25th Hour

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Dammit, I didn't watch the other 24 movies in this franchise!






25th Hour – 4 out of 5


Despite the fact that the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman is in this film, I’ve never actually watched it.  I remember when the film came out my roommate at the time went to the theater to see it and said it was great—however, he has some incredibly shitty taste in movies and we never agreed on the quality of film’s we experienced in our lives so I took his 2 cents and tossed it in the metaphoric change dish and never thought of it again…that is until a reader requested I give this one a chance.  I did…and I think I might owe my old roommate and apology.  If we were still speaking after he stole 300 dollars from me and I moved out, I would probably tell him that I should have listened to him.
This is how I will listen to my old roommate from now on...after he pays me
back for the money he stole.

Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) is a drug dealer that is caught by the law.  He now has only 24 hours before he goes to jail…he heads to prison on the 25th hour (get the title now?  Because I don’t…).  So, he decides to spend that time visiting his father (Brian Cox), stumbling upon exactly who snitched him out to the cops, and enjoying a night at the club with his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson), and his two lifelong friends; Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Frank (Barry Pepper).
Man...they are going to eat you alive in prison.
Sheee-it.
The concept behind 25th Hour is pretty simple but incredibly effective.  The way director Spike Lee showed Monty coming to terms with the feelings he is going through during his final moments as a free man are pretty incredible to watch.  He’s trying to enjoy himself at the club but is also battling a deep down feeling of suspicion for his girlfriend, is scared out of his mind of what a pretty boy like him will have to endure in prison, and, most of all, is just angry with himself for breaking the law in the first place and not getting out when he had the chance.  This is illustrated so effectively during a scene where he is debating himself Gollum-style in the mirror in the bathroom of his dad’s bar.  He goes on a long, very racist and very homophobic rant (that’s slightly reminiscent of another film with Ed Norton) that, eventually, his other self (the non-reflection one) tells himself he’s wrong for having these underlying feelings.  It was a very emotional scene and was made all the better with a very strong performance from Norton.
The part where he debates himself about killing the "filthy hobbit-es" was a
little strange.

The film also does a tremendous job of having side characters in Monty’s life that have their own issues they are dealing with and those issues are represented well within the story without feeling like they have to be connected to Monty’s future residency in jail.  Granted, much of the issues are connected like Frank being pissed at Naturelle for not getting Monty out of the drug game, Monty’s dad scared for his son’s life, and Naturelle trying to make sure that Monty’s friend ensure he has a last night of freedom to remember.  However, one of the side-stories thrown into the film had to deal with the character of Jacob and feelings he has for one of his students. 
You were taken from us too early, Hoffman.

Jacob is a teacher and a particular enticing student that doesn’t seem to own a shirt that makes it all the way to the pant's line played by Anna Paquin.  We see him struggle with his feelings and even, in a roundabout way, discuss them with Frank (who sees through his B.S. line about a “friend” who likes one of his students).  Eventually, Jacob gives in to his dangerous lust for the young girl and makes a move on her and the guilt and fear he has over it is enticing to watch and pretty much mirrors some of the feelings that Monty is going through on his last day of freedom.  It created for a very interesting second, B-story for the film that was just as engaging as what Monty was dealing with.
Maybe her shirt just hasn't finished downloading.

Being sweaty...another reason why I don't go to clubs.
That, and they won't let me in.
Above all else, this film has some just stellar acting from an incredible cast.  Even the small parts are played very effectively.  In reality, Anna Paquin’s character is far larger than her actual physical presence in the story and doesn’t actually have that many scenes but for every second she is in the story, she is doing an incredible job—the same goes for Brian Cox; who, like Paquin, isn’t in the film long but does his job very well.  Finally, I’m not usually a fan of Rosario Dawson but she was excellent as Monty’s girlfriend Naturelle.  I don’t hate her as an actress, I just don’t usually see her be that natural in the roles she plays but, in this film, she was very strong.
I like Cox.  Let me make sure nothing is strange about what I just said...
and it looks good to me.  There's my caption for this photo.

"So, should we avoid all the 'dropping the soap' jokes
tonight?  Or do more of them?"
Above the above all else that I put in the previous paragraph, the strongest element this film has in the acting department is the presence of Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Edward Norton.  Not only are these guys showing off some real chemistry that makes them look like legit lifelong friends but each one is capable of making all the drama that is unfolding around them look real and authentic.  Each actor looked right at place with the part they were playing and could deliver alone or together in any combination of the three.  The film already had an interesting story but the truly immaculate performances from this trio really made the story stand out even further and made the drama that much easier to relate to.
He's getting lectured for being in Battlefield Earth.

The only real downside I have for 25th Hour is there isn’t much replay value in it for me.  Does that mean I won’t watch this movie again?  Absolutely not.  I will watch it again because with performances that are gathered in this one, you can't just watch it once and close the book on it.  However, unlike other, more visceral films that go straight for the jugular of unbridled and fun entertainment, this isn’t a film I will watch as much as I watch something like The Avengers (but that’s also because I’m a big geek).  In reality, it will probably be a few years before I put this one in my Blu-Ray player again…but I will do it.

Of course, had Norton kept this facial hair throughout the whole film, that might
have upped the replay value.

25th Hour is a pretty dramatic and intriguing film.  There’s very little spectacle to it and it contains almost no flash and sparkles.  However, the way Spike Lee was able to showcase a story that keeps movie forward and is able to toss in flashbacks that never feel like they are gratuitous or slowing down the film’s progress makes it something to watch and renders the lack of flash and sparkles null and void.  Additionally, with performances and a cast that come off as simply awesome, this movie becomes something to really take in.  Damn…I really hate to admit my old roommate was right about something.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for the review man, but I'm actually surprised that you didn't mention the film being part of post-911 and the trauma it brought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought about it but other reviews I read about it all brought it up...I thought I would just be repeating what has already been said.

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