The 25th Hour

It’s not often that we indulge ourselves in movie reviews here on Blather. Especially for movies that are a year old. But with the 25th Hour, we´ll make an exception…

Last year, young Dave wrote a quick review of Spike Lee’s movie (sorry, I am not calling it a joint), The 25th Hour, starring Edward Norton and Brian Cox. True to form, it’s taken me almost a year to see it and write the requested follow-up. Normally, I wouldn’t bother my bronzed butt, but in the case of the 25th Hour, I am happy to make an exception.
Quite simply, it is around about the best movie that I have seen in at least three years. Nothing has gripped me to a seat like this since Christopher Nolans’ breathtaking debut, Memento, starring Guy Pearce.
The 25th Hour sports fast dialogue, a sumptuous score, superbly understated acting (see the mercurial genius at work that is Philip Seymour Hoffman), balls to the wall hyperacting (see Barry Pepper in a career making performace) a sexy, kooky performance from the wonderful Anna Paquin and a superb paternal turn from the real Hannibal Lecter; the increasingly brilliant Scotsman, Brian Cox.
However, all of that aside, the movie belongs to the towering presence that is Ed Norton. I could wax lyrical about Ed Norton’s prodigious talents, as I have done many times, but this is it. He is Brando. He is DeNiro. He is Pacino. The next twenty years belong to him.
In addition to the heart-wrenching pathos of the story (a man’s last night before seven years in a hellish federal prison) the movie contains three scenes of such directorial brilliance that I have to ask myself why did this movie not win the Best Director award.
The first is a conversation between Hoffman and Pepper whilst overlooking the wreckage of Ground Zero. I’ve had about as much as I can take of the 9/11 tragedy and it’s cynical use by Hollywood movie-makers and wannabe Presidents to shift product, but this scene left me reeling. The power comes from the matter of fact manner of Ground Zero’s placement beside a conversation of dreadful import- about the end of a man’s life. Lee lets you see a New York which is hurting, bruised and talking in whispers – the hideous events of September the 11th casting a shadow over every word and movement. Just as it really did.
The second is Norton’s awesome 9/11 rant in a restaurant bathroom mirror. For five minutes the script lets rip with every unmentionable thing that no American was ever meant to say in the new American order. Some of it is not pleasant, but Lee is attempting to articlulate the voice of New York. Whether or not he has done that accurately is for New Yorkers to debate, but the scene has more integrity and honesty than anything I have seen in the mainstream arts which has attempted to deal with the matter.
The third scene takes place in Central Park at six in the morning and I won’t ruin the movie by revealing it. Believe me, when you see it, you’ll know it.
It doesn’t matter that I am a year late in telling you about this movie. Just go rent it on DVD. Spike Lee has come of age. He is the man.
PS: Anna Paquin may just be the sexiest woman on earth…
Read daev’s review »

Damien DeBarra was born in the late 20th century and grew up in Dublin, Ireland. He now lives in London, England where he shares a house with four laptops, three bikes and a large collection of chairs.