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25th Hour- 4.5 "mighties"


25th Hour- 4.5 \"mighties\"

I finally watched Spike Lee's newest joint, 25th Hour last night.

I heard all sorts of mixed things going into it. But I make it a point to always check out the latest from Spike, whom I consider the most important American filmmaker since Scorcese (can you tell I'm a New Yorker?).

This film marks a departure from his previos work in two major ways:

1. Content
Most of his films deal directly with racial relations and societal problems via character studies. This film places race and social issues in the background, creating an effective backdrop for the excellent characters. The aftermath of 9/11 is included here, with references to the event including a long shot on the space of the former WTC.

2. Visual style
Spike's earlier visual work was often amateurish. Starting with Malcolm X, Spike was able to absorb the techniques of big budget Hollyood while still maintaining his individual energetic style. All these elements blend together seemlesslyin 25th Hour, surpassing all of his cinematic work.

The plot is more of a "McGuffin" than a crucial aspect of the film. It follows the main character, Monty Brogan, during his last night before going to prison for 7 years.

The film is a character study. For me, these types of films are either excrutiatingly boring if done poorly or the most rewarding of done well. Fortunately, the latter is the case here.

Few would contend that Ed Norton is a gifted actor when given the right role. He takes to this perfectly. This guy is the best young actor on the scene today. He does a great job of making us feel sorry for him (going to jail) while still hating him (he's a drug dealer).

This sort of humanistic duality is classic Spike. Sometimes, the character is portrayed by less-than-stellar actors (Wesley Snipes, Spike himself). Norton's skill and Spike's vision combine here to make a great character.

Naturelle Rivera (Rosario Dawson), Monty's girlfriend, had two things to do in this film- be sympathetic and look hot. She did both wonderfully.

Philip Seymour Hoffman brought his usual nebish self to the role of Jacob, the putzy school teacher who lusts after his student, the extremely cute Anna Paquin.

One of the funniest moments is a typical Spike rant montage, like something out of Do the Right Thing, where Norton slams all kinds of New Yorkers, including Russians on Brighton Beach (my hood!) and "uptown brothers who don't pass the ball."

The end of the film is heartbreaking and beautiful, but not sappy. It's life-affirming and a little sad, but executed with dignity, a rare commodity in film these days.
Re: 25th Hour- 4.5 \"mighties\"

Few would contend that Ed Norton is a gifted actor when given the right role.

Just double checking:

I *think* that you mean to say either that:

"Few would contest ....."
"Few would contend that EN is not a gifted actor"

Re: 25th Hour- 4.5 \"mighties\"

Irregardless of my grammer being ungood, I thinks Ed don't not act worse than no one.
Re: 25th Hour- 4.5 \"mighties\"

Anyway, I saw 25th Hour back when it was in theaters. I liked it. All of the performances were excellent. It also had its own distinctive look, not as naturalistic in color palette etc. as I remember many Spike Lee movies. Many of his movies (or, at least the older ones like Do The Right Thing) gave more of the impression that were just seeing whatever colors were in the environment when brightly lit in summer sunshine. In 25th Hour the color palette and lighting struck me as being much more purposeful.
Re: 25th Hour- 4.5 \"mighties\"

In Do the Right Thing, bright colors, especially red, orange and yellow, were used a lot to convey the running theme of heat. Most startling was the red brick wall near which the three loiterers sat in front of.

I freakin' love that movie.

I like how 25th Hour used filters, specifically in the Brian Cox-narrated ending. Which brings up a question:

erm, ok, I was all set to put a spoiler tag here, but I don't see it in the little tool box, so-

WARNING: spoilers below!

That whole ending with Monty's father taking him to some little town out west and starting a new life- was that just fantasy or did they imply that they're actually going to do that? Or was it just left open?

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