Ed here: I watched this again last night so I'm reposting this review.
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.
Update: It was even richer, more powerful on my third viewing last night. This was Spike Lee's triumph.