|All Rights Reserved|
Directed by Spike Lee, Written by Benioff
Director Spike Lee’s 25th Hour is a drama about atoning for the misdeeds we’ve committed in the past. This extraordinarily emotional film is able to move the audience as a result of the ability to relate to the character’s feelings and actions.
Monty (Edward Norton) is a well kept charming drug dealer employed by “Uncle Nikolai” and the New York Russian Mafia. Monty’s character is one that most men consider themselves to resemble: intelligent, witty, thoughtful, somewhat confident and an underdog of sorts. These attributes allow the audience to relate to Monty, from which the rest of the film is built upon.
A number of months ago, Monty and his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) were subject to a DEA bust earning him a seven year prison sentence. The bulk of the film revolves around Monty’s final twenty four hours as a free man as be begins to reevaluate the course of his life.
This film features a fairly weak and simplistic premise, yet is kept entertaining and thought provoking from the superb performances and direction. Prior to viewing this film, I had a bit of a stigma against Spike Lee as a director; though, I had yet to actually view any of his films. If 25th Hour is any indication of his abilities, then Mr. Lee is quite an artistic director. The characters in this film were cast brilliantly as Norton delivers a rather convincing performance. Berry Pepper and Phillip Seymour Hoffman are cast as Monty’s childhood friends, Frank and Jacob. Frank is a hotshot Wall Street broker with an attitude; Jacob, however, is a quiet socially awkward English teacher at the private academy the three attended as children.
Throughout the film, Monty is presented with many opportunities to run from his punishment, especially in one incredibly emotional scene with his father (Brian Cox) on the way to the prison. Ultimately, this film debates the ethical dilemma of whether one should face the consequences of their sins when they have the option not to. At a time in our lives, each of us has committed some sort of ethical sin or crime and had to atone for it, which is where the plot is able to connect deeply with the audience, despite being rather simplistic in nature.
This is a superb film that will leave the audience with a sense of closure and without a dry eye.