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*** Official "25TH HOUR" Discussion Thread


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#1 of 71 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted December 26 2002 - 02:39 PM

This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "25th Hour" please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.

All HTF member film reviews of "25th Hour" should be posted to the Official Review Thread.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


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#2 of 71 OFFLINE   John Randolph

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Posted January 07 2003 - 10:54 AM

Can someone (in spoiler text, of course) tell me what happens in the last 30 min. of the movie?

#3 of 71 OFFLINE   Michael Pakula

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Posted January 07 2003 - 11:41 AM

I tell you on Friday when the movie opens up here
if no one hasn't told you by than. How come you want
to know what happens anyways? why not go see the film
and find out?

-Mike

#4 of 71 OFFLINE   John Randolph

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Posted January 07 2003 - 12:46 PM

I've seen it, but it was longer than I expected, and I had to leave before it was over.

#5 of 71 OFFLINE   Edwin Pereyra

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Posted January 07 2003 - 03:08 PM

Last half hour. Let's see. Tell me where you left off and I'll pick it up from there.

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#6 of 71 OFFLINE   Mark Pfeiffer

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Posted January 07 2003 - 03:49 PM

Surprised to see no discussion of this. Just saw it last night and still trying to digest it.

25th Hour has moments of great poetry, particularly the last 10-15 minutes. (I'd describe them, but I'm not sure that they'd make much sense outside of context of the rest of the film. I'll wait until more talk is going on here.)

The film seems sort of flabby in spots, and I don't think Spike always connects the dots in regard to 9-11. The general sense I got from the film is that Norton's character represents the United States after the terrorist attacks. His world has been shaken, the wounds are fresh and open for all to see, and he is afraid of what the future will bring. (The same also seems to be true of his two friends, who engage in different risky behavior as a way of denial.)

25th Hour strikes me as a very political film that doesn't get bound up in rhetoric, if that makes any sense. (I told you I'm still processing it. Posted Image )

Hmm, what else? Terence Blanchard's stirring score effectively sets the mood. And wow, that last ten to fifteen minutes is really great. It's amazing he sustains it for so long. I didn't quite feel that way about the rest of the film, but there's a lot of good stuff in here. Guess I better let this one stew some more...
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#7 of 71 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted January 07 2003 - 05:22 PM

Quote:
I don't think Spike always connects the dots in regard to 9-11.

I'm not sure there are many dots to connect. I certainly don't see Monty Brogan as "representing" the U.S. after 9/11. Remember that the novel was written (and so, I believe, was the script) before 9/11. What's so strange about the film, and one of the reasons why I consider it a real directorial achievement, is that the fit between the landscape and Monty's story somehow feels right, even though it's hard to articulate why (I've been struggling with it for over two weeks now, which is why I haven't contributed to the review thread).

I'd describe it as a film about dealing with loss -- in Monty's case, the life he's pissed away, in the case of everyone around him, the loss of someone close to them (everyone knows that the Monty Brogan they'll see again in seven years won't be the same person). The bold directorial choice is to situate that story against a wounded and grieving landscape, an entire city dealing with loss, and I think Spike Lee makes the right choice by not trying to push any analogies between Monty's story and the city around him. The city, with all its fresh scars, is simply the landscape in which Monty faces a defining moment, and to the extent there are things in the city that resonate with his situation, well, that's the way it is in NYC.

The lengthy conversation between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper with the camera looking down past them into Ground Zero is particularly interesting, because the conversation itself makes only glancing references to the events that created that giant pit. And that's precisely the point. There's Ground Zero, and then there are all the lives being carried on around it -- and they're equally important.

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#8 of 71 OFFLINE   Kirk Tsai

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Posted January 07 2003 - 09:31 PM

Michael, I think you hit the nail right on the head. It's the feeling that these characters must live with that is somehow similar to the post-9/11 feelings. It's also just a background to tell a story, and I think the fact that the U.S. hasn't had many of these experiences might make too many people search too hard for a parrallel between 9/11 and Norton's character. When we look to the films of Italy, Japan, Vietnam and other countries, it is extremely common to acknowledge and refer back to previous heartbreaking experiences while focusing on a character's story.

#9 of 71 OFFLINE   Edwin Pereyra

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Posted January 08 2003 - 01:13 AM

David Benioff's novel was released in early 2001. I also don't see the political undertones that Mark did. I think the material stands on its own and now, set against the backdrop of post-9/11 events, becomes an even a stronger piece.

~Edwin
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#10 of 71 OFFLINE   Mark Pfeiffer

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Posted January 08 2003 - 07:12 AM

While the novel may have been written pre-9/11, that doesn't preclude Spike Lee from adding that into the mix, especially since the film was obviously made after that time.

Perhaps I'm bringing too much to it, trying to make connections that aren't there to make sense of it all. Still, it seems to me to be a work with a strong political current running underneath the story. I certainly haven't processed the film fully (and with a blizzard of screenings this week, I haven't had enough time to sit down and really hash out all my thoughts on it).

On a side note, I bought into Norton's character being free and then reporting to prison on a particular day, mainly because I assumed there has to be a factual basis for it. Is there and if so, why is he permitted this freedom before going to prison?
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#11 of 71 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted January 08 2003 - 07:45 AM

Quote:
Is there and if so, why is he permitted this freedom before going to prison?

Bail. It doesn't just apply pre-trial.

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#12 of 71 OFFLINE   Jeff Adams

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Posted January 10 2003 - 06:09 AM

Just a question, I don't know much about the law, but doesn't the judge usually deny bail for someone who has already been convicted? That set aside, I loved this movie and thought that Norton, Pepper and Hoffman put in some excellent performances. But we have come to expect nothing less form Norton.
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#13 of 71 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted January 10 2003 - 07:08 PM

Quote:
Just a question, I don't know much about the law, but doesn't the judge usually deny bail for someone who has already been convicted?


Not necessarily. I know people with priors who have still be released on bail prior to sentencing on new charges years later. Also, Monty had no prior convictions, anyway. Yes, he was booted from his high school, but he was never convicted of a crime. Monty had no record and was not being charged with a violent crime or with gun possession; he was a perfect candidate for bail. However, where the film (and book) did come up short on this account was that Monty got bail even though he didn't play ball with the DEA. Anyone that unwilling to give some names and information isn't going to be likely to make bail. Problematic, too, was the notion that Monty would be going to fuck-me-in-the-ass Federal prison. Much more likely would be that Monty would serve his time at the camp section of Otisville, where the nonviolent Federal prisoners end up. Of course, Benioff needed this cheat in order to create the Monty/Francis climax without turning Monty into a violent person (such that we might dislike him too much).

Anyway, I was fairly disappointed with the film. I felt it was terribly uneven. I found the score to be rather atrocious: it either didn't at all fit the scene or it was completely bombastic and overbearing. I was either mystified at the relation between the music and the visuals, or I was cringing at how pompously manipulative the music was.

The film suffered, too, from some simply worthless performances. Norton, sadly, was nothing special. Other than playing a guy who has flashbacks and looks at an old picture sometimes, he gave Monty no depth or introspection. Although the film's tagline was "Can you change your whole life in a day?", we are not given any clue that Monty decided to change a thing about his life. He went from a bland nice guy drug dealer to a bland guy who is going off to prison. And Hoffman, who I usually adore, appeared to just call his performance in. He played Jakob just like he played any random other weird character that he specializes in; one might believe, if told, that his performance was actually digitally inserted from the outtakes of another random film of his.

I also felt that the film rather dropped the ball on the entire Kostya subplot. We get little sense of Kostya's importance to Monty and of what level of trust existed between them. Thus, Kostya's climax is of too little importance to the viewer. While it does affect Monty and Naturelle's relationship, it could've been much stronger if we cared about Kostya, too.

There were good performances, though. Rosario Dawson, for instance, worked hard and overcame a completely idiotic-looking fake mole. Brian Cox, who I was glad to see experience a revival in 2002, stole every moment that he had on screen. His presence reminds me much of my own father's, and, although that's certainly a completely subjective thing, it helped to make his performance work for me. I was most pleased with Barry Pepper, who I usually can't stand (he's got that sort of Jake Busey face that just makes me want to take a swing at him). He brought depth to the role, especially in his character's climax, that I felt transcended even the novel.

There were some very nice moments. The "fuck you" sequence worked, although I was afraid that it would not. It was, perhaps, more mean-spirited than I would've liked, but it was still effective. I found it especially interesting that Lee saved the rant on Black people until near the end; I'm sure he knew that we would be waiting for it to come. The fantasy segment at the end of the film worked nicely, too, perhaps due in large part to Cox's rather dreamlike narration.

There were also some pretty bad moments. The title sequence did not work for me at all, as it came off as being far too self-important for my tastes in a film about a low-level drug dealer going off to serve seven years. It seems sometimes that Lee tries far too hard to be a New York director. I think the film would've worked far better as a statement on New York if it had been done in a more subtle fashion. As it was, the portrayal of New York became too exaggerated. The DEA interrogation was also completely preposterous. The one DEA agent who kept saying "sheeeeeit" was, in particular, awful. As if it wasn't bad enough that we were meant to accept a completely unrealistic DEA interrogation, the agent's behavior was cringe-worthy.

I was also disappointed with the end, which I felt was a little too ambiguous. For me, the story is one about people seriously assessing their lives and then stepping up to the plate and facing the consequences of their actions. When the movie ended somewhat ambiguously, we never got the sense that Monty ever actually grew up. At least this non-growth fit in with the poor portrayal of Monty up until that point, anyway. I think the final moment would've been served much better if, on that close-up of Monty's face, he gave his father the instruction of where he wanted to be driven.

Oh well. I'm sorry to say that I don't believe this film fits into my top 10 of 2002.

DJ

#14 of 71 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted January 10 2003 - 07:18 PM

Well, I'm going to see this film on Saturday and I hope my opinion of it is the opposite of Damin's.Posted Image





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#15 of 71 OFFLINE   Nick C.

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Posted January 10 2003 - 08:20 PM

anyone happen to know the title/artist of that addictive electronic song used in various trailers and during the nightclub scene? it had no lyrics, just a repetive drum beat...

looks like a soundtrack is due on the 14th, but Amazon calls it the score, so I wonder if such a song would even appear on it
later Pooh...

#16 of 71 OFFLINE   Robin Warren

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Posted January 11 2003 - 04:46 AM

White Lines? That song is from the 80's I believe. I think it is by Duran Duran.


Free (say rock come on ya'all) rock (say freeze come on)
Free (say rock come on ya'all) rock (say freeze come on)
Free (say rock come on ya'all) rock (say freeze come on)
Free (say rock come on ya'all) rock
Ah (higher baby), ah (get higher baby), ah (get higher baby) Ah (and don't never come down) freebase


I really am looking forward to this. I really enjoy Spike's movies and so far have been unable to find it playing in my area. I can go outside and throw a rock and it will hit a theater that is playing Just Married, but trying to see this movie is proving rather difficult.

#17 of 71 OFFLINE   Nick C.

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Posted January 11 2003 - 09:40 AM

thanks Robin, with your's and usenet help, it's a remix of the Grandmaster Flash version of White Lines
later Pooh...

#18 of 71 OFFLINE   Scott Weinberg

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Posted January 11 2003 - 09:58 PM

Loved this movie.

Back with more later. Posted Image

#19 of 71 OFFLINE   Brook K

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Posted January 12 2003 - 06:43 AM

Agreed Scott. There's a ton I haven't seen but right now this is my fav of 2002
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#20 of 71 OFFLINE   Elizabeth S

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Posted January 12 2003 - 08:06 AM

Really enjoyed this film. I felt that the theme of the "wrong road taken" or that temptation was something that everyone could relate to and reflect upon in our own lives. Amongst the 3 friends, though, I felt Phillip Seymour Hoffman's Jakob's story thread was a bit awkward.





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