Friday, December 28, 2007

The 25th Hour

I watched the 25th Hour again last night. I've recommended it before. Flawed as it is--the first act needed to be trimmed--it is still one of the most powerful crime films I've ever seen simply because it doesn't rely on any of the neo-noir tropes so fashionable today. It is the story of an intelligent, otherwise decent young man so fucking stupid he started dealing drugs. And in so doing lost his claim on both intelligence and decency.

The film takes place in the final 24 hours before he goes to prison. Ed Norton as the dealer, Phillip Seymour Hoffman as his hapless friend, Rosario Dawson as Norton's lover and Anna Paquin as the teenage student Hoffman is fixated on form a crushing ensemble. The acting is flawless.

The final twenty minutes, in the scene with Norton's father and the scene with Norton and Hoffman and another friend, are as good as anything I've seen in the last fifteen years.

I am a lonely voice recommending this movie but I think it will eventually get its due.

7 comments:

Todd Mason said...

Haven't seen it, but having heard just the soundtrack/dialog between the father and son as the former lays out the latter's options, in the course of a NPR interview, reaffirms your recommendation.

Anonymous said...

The book by David Benioff is absolutely fantastic. I didn't enjoy the movie nearly as much.
As for underrated crime flicks I'd go with City of Industry.

Ed Gorman said...

I liked the book very much but if felt more imagined than experienced, my general complaint about neo noir and too much of today's hardboiled. The movie had moments of street grit (thanks to Spike Lee) that made me ache. The book had a touch of the tourist, the film didn't have a moment of it. My take on thing anyway.

Ed

Anonymous said...

Point taken about neo noir. I read alot of it but am disappointed as often as not. With the exception of Charlie Huston and particularly, Terrill Lankford.
My problem with the film version of 25th probably has more to do with Spike. I've never liked his *joints* much. Just my taste, I guess. Same for Sam Raimi who did a very underwhelming version of A Simple Plan. One of my favorite books period. mtm

Gonzalo B said...

The 25th Hour is one of Lee's most powerful films and probably the best one since Do the Right Thing (I don't care for most of what he did in between). The ominous atmosphere of its last 20 minutes is truly perfect. I haven't read the novel but I thought Benioff's short story collection was pretty good.

Me said...

As far as Spike Lee movies go, I really dig The Inside Man. He hit the nail on the head as far as documentaries go with When The Levee Broke. It's amazing and sad.

Ray said...

Loved the book, loved parts of the movie. The Norton speech to the mirror, Hoffman being his usual sweaty self, Pepper pointing out the window at Ground Zero and Cox's last speech. It was a perfect Spike Lee movie. Has Benioff written anything since, though?