My buddy Vince Keenan was nice enough to send me a link to the following Noah Forrest review of Spike Lee's The 25th Hour which was either (generally) panned or ignored. I've said before that few movies have ever moved me the way this one does. There is a long scene near the end when Edward Norton and his father are driving that gives me literal chills no matter how many times I see it. And Philip Seymour Hoffman is heartbreaking as only Hoffman can be. And sexy as Anna Paquin is in True Blood you see the real range of her talent here.
"25th Hour is the most culturally relevant and important film of the past ten years; it floored me on a cerebral/emotional level as well as a cinematic one. Not only does this film tell us about where we are as a people post-9/11 -- and where we might go afterwards -- it also pulls us by our lapels and confronts us on a human level. It is a great story, told in the best possible way.
"Based on the film's synopsis, one wouldn’t expect a transcendent movie experience; it’s about Monty Brogan, a former drug dealer’s last day of freedom before he goes to prison for seven years. But the film is so much more than what the plot purports to be about. It’s about friendship: Monty’s relationship with his two best friends Jacob and Frank, one an introverted private school teacher and the other a typically high-strung and narcissistic Wall Street trader; it’s about love and trust: Monty’s relationship with his long-term girlfriend Naturelle, who may or may not have ratted him out to the cops; it’s about family: several moving scenes that Monty shares with his father James, a pub owner who traded in alcohol for club soda.
"The film wouldn’t be what it is without the performances, of course. Every part is played to perfection by a truly stunning ensemble cast that includes Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anna Paquin, Rosario Dawson and Brian Cox. Edward Norton, however, is the glue that holds it all together as Monty. Norton has the distinct honor of being in two films that are the best of their respective decades (this film and Fight Club for the '90s), but his performance in 25th Hour is not showy in any way. Most of the film he’s reactive to the larger than life personalities around him, but he’s active when it counts in certain moments. "
Be sure to read the entire review. http://www.moviecitynews.com/columnists/forrest/2009/091109.html