Spike Lee is one of these directors who are very well renowned and have a brilliant filmography. I haven’t got the chance to see all of his films, but I was impressed by Do The Right Thing and the way Lee presented the Black Lives Movement, so I checked out 25th Hour and while it’s not up there with his best films, I was equally impressed. 25th Hour is Spike Lee’s love letter to New York City and a great character study of a man seeking to redeem himself in his final hours of freedom.
Set in New York City following the 9/11 attacks, 25th Hour deals with drug dealer Monty Brogan, who is about to start a seven-year trial in prison. In his final hours of freedom, Monty dedicates his time to hang out with old friends and confront his girlfriend while preparing his extended absence.
Spike Lee does a phenominal job on delivering a character study of a man spending his last hours of freedom to redeem himself while showcasing the city in a post 9/11 world. This movie contains some of the most powerful and emotional scenes in his filmography, especially the ending, which is heartbreaking and gut-wreching.
The movie also does a great job in making your sympathize with Monty. You know he’s done so many things wrong and want him to go to prison, but at the same time, you feel sorry for him for everything he’s endured in his life. The cinematography is very raw and energetic and the camera movements are very fluid and the pacing is well-balanced and keeps the story moving forward.
Edward Norton delivers an incredible perforamance as always as Monty Brogan and it’s easily one of his best performances in his career. The supporting cast, such as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson and Barry Pepper, do a phenominal job in their roles as well. On the flip side, the writing can be a bit spotty in some places and Anna Paquin’s character is the only character in the film that I found annoying.
Overall, 25th Hour is a terrific character study of a man trying to seek redemption and a demonstration of our society after the 9/11 attacks. While it’s not up with his best films, it’s certainly one of Lee’s most underrated efforts.