Monday, February 16, 2004

Movie Review: 25th Hour

United States, 2002
U.S. Release Date: 12/19/02 (limited)
Running Time: 2:14
Rated: R (Profanity, sexual situations)
Cast: Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin, Brian Cox

Director: Spike Lee
Producers: Tobey Maguire, Julia Chasman, Spike Lee, Jon Kilik
Screenplay: David Benioff, based on his novel
Music: Terence Blanchard
Studio: Touchstone Pictures

Posted by Hello
Can't Spike Lee just get a real name? His actual first name is Sherman, so why can’t he just use that? Spike Lee is the same moron who tried to sue the new TNN for attempting to use the name "Spike TV" for their newly remodeled and reformatted TV channel— as if "Spike TV" would foil the oh holy Spike Lee's image! Does he think he is the only allowable person/thing to bear the almighty name of Spike? Give me a break. When I was a kid, I had a neighbor with a dachshund named Spike. Are we going to start suing wiener dogs too, Mr. Lee? And, while I’m on a roll here, what is this, "A Spike Lee Joint" crap? Can't he just say, "Directed by Spike Lee," like every other normal director? Maybe he smoked a joint while in charge of the direction of this film; for me, that is the only logical explanation.

The main character, Monty Brogan (played by Edward Norton) only has 24 hours to live his life as a free man. After his final day is up, he is off to the big house for a seven year sentence for drug possession. The film chronologically takes you through Monty's last 24 hours of freedom, and at the end, during his 25th hour, he has to make one of three choices: he can flee, commit suicide, or serve out his sentence.

If you are looking for action, search elsewhere, because the only action in this is a nicely-done fist fight between Ed Norton and Barry Pepper and a scene where the Ukrainian Mob beats up on Tony Siragusa--that is right, the former star of the Baltimore Ravens, a.k.a. "The Goose."

The limited pluses in this movie are Anna Paquin's top-notch performance, a marvelous view of Ground Zero, Monty's shouting spree in the mirror, and a hilarious quote about Victoria's Secret. Other than that, 25th Hour is an average screenplay directed by one of Hollywood’s most over-rated. While it has its positives, in all actuality, 25th Hour doesn’t offer too much at all. If this was a freshman film, by an unheard of director, it is likely that no distributor would even pick this one up.

Throughout the film, you can easily sense the desperation in the protagonist’s character, but not anymore than your own for the movie to be over. If I was in Monty’s situation, I could literally think of 1,000 better things to do with my final 24 hours, and I could also think of an equal amount of things to do during the two-hour-and-fourteen-minute running-time.

Try again Sherman; while this one may pay for your courtside seats at The Garden, it isn’t going to earn you anymore respect in the movie business. Do the Right Thing it is not; a second-rate attempt of a film with great actors, but without a climax or conclusion, it is. (** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2004