An under-rated gem, 25th Hour is a powerful story about how the decisions you make in your life, and who you make them with, can ultimately lead to your downfall.
When drug dealer 'Monty' Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton) is busted in post 9-11 New York, he has 24 hours to tie up the loose ends in his life before going to jail.
Spending the last night of his life with his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) and two best friends, Frank (Barry Pepper) a high flyer on wall street, and Jacob (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) an English teacher who finds himself in an awkward predicament with one of his students, Monty learns to take responsibility of his own actions while dreading his upcoming stretch in prison.
The acting is top notch, especially in regards to Edward Norton who delivers his best work since American History X. One particular scene where he is letting out all of his frustrations in front of a bathroom mirror is amazing.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman is solid as always, while Barry Pepper bounced back rather well after the disgracefully bad Battlefield Earth. And of course the ever reliable Brian Cox is always in fine form as Monty's father. If their ever ways the character actor for our time, then he is it.
Regardless on how you may feel about Spike Lee's political views, there is no denying that when on the ball he is an exceptional director. His courageous decision not to ignore the effects of 9/11, by constantly showing visuals of ground zero (where the Twin Towers once stood) not only helped with the tone of the movie, but also was an important backdrop for these characters, and a reminder of what was happening in their world.
The story line between Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Anna Paquin was quite an annoying distraction. And while they are both tremendously gifted actors, there bumbling romance just does not work.
But that aside, 25th Hour is a very good film and a treat for fans of Spike Lee and the actors involved.