Prayer Focus

25th Hour

MPAA Rating: R for strong language and some violence
not reviewed
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Crime, Drama
Length:
2 hr. 14 min.
Relevant Issues
Edward Norton in 25th Hour

Starring: Edward Norton, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brian Cox | Directed by: Spike Lee | Produced by: Julia Chasman, Jon Kilik, Spike Lee, Tobey Maguire, Nick Wechsler | Written by: David Benioff | Distributor: Touchstone Pictures

Year of Release—2002
Viewer Comments
Positive—This film is very offensive but I give a positive take only because a good example of how not to live life is given. The movie probes some deep questions and the acting is decent, however if you’ve not seen some of the other current films like “The Two Towers” then those should come first. The movie is a good example of how disregard for God’s laws brings hell to life on Earth.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 4]
—Bob C, age 39
Positive—“25th Hour” showcases absolutely phenomenal talent in many different areas, and it is one of the best films of 2002. It is wonderfully written, acted, photographed, and directed. It is, in my opinion flawless.

The film stars Edward Norton, one of the best actors out there right now, as Monty, a drug-dealer who is about to be sent away to prison for 7 years. The DEA has been tipped off by someone as to his involvement in a drug cartel, and they expect him to turn over his boss. When he won’t, jail is a certainty. So here he is, on his last day of freedom, before willingly going to jail. But the film is about more than just him. It is about his girlfriend, his father, and his friends, and every role is juicy. We get to know each and every character extremely well, and that is testament to the wonderful acting. Barry Pepper was the biggest surprise. He has always been a wonderful actor, but this character is very different from anything I’ve ever seen him play. As well, the Philip Seymour Hoffman character, and his struggles with his female student, Mary, played by Anna Paquin, really serves as a wonderful microcosm for the film as a whole. And he is once again brilliant. (When will Hoffman win an Oscar? He deserves four by my count.) A lot of things in this film do that actually. There are just so many great scenes in it. Spike Lee is a director of amazing ability. His visuals during the monologues are just remarkable. Every shot, every scene, every character is right on the money.

“25th Hour” is about responsibility. It is so easy to shift blame, to neglect subjects, to deny the truth and turn away from all decisions difficult and right. Edward Norton has an amazing monologue that really drives this home. This monologue, as well as Brian Cox’s monologue at the end of the picture, have already been talked about a lot, and they deserve to be, because they are so very powerful. Each lasts about four minutes. Edward Norton’s monologue is one of immense anger and hate toward every single group of people in New York City. we can hear his voice blaming them for HIS situation, as if he would not be where he is now, if it weren’t for them. Then, looking in the mirror, he realizes that he can point his finger at only one person, himself. This monologue is extremely vulgar, yes, but to me it fit. I’m sure a lot of Christians will disagree, and that’s fine, but I think it was needed, it helped prove the point.

Brian Cox plays Monty’s father, a recovered alcoholic who runs an Irish pub. His monologue deals with an alternative life for his son, a magical what-if in which his son becomes a fine, upstanding young man, and his troubles don’t follow him. He is a father who is pained to see his boy going to jail. He wants his son to have a second chance, and the interesting thing is, the monologue is just as much for the father as it is for the son. How many parents could hold their head high and say, “My child is in jail.”? The monologue is essentially a dream, and the Cox character desperately needs to have hope that it could come true.

This is a brilliant film. It might be Edward Norton’s best performance ever, and he is an actor who is consistently great, and is consistently in great films, films with a lasting impact (“Fight Club” and “American History X” leap to mind). “25th Hour” has quite a bit of profanity, and some violence, this is true. But what type of people are we dealing with? Not exactly “Christians” now are they? No. Many of the characters are exactly the types of people who would curse a lot. A few characters aren’t (such as the Hoffman character) and those characters do not swear, or at least not much. I will say that the violence in the film, while not having much, it was extremely brutal. The sounds and visuals were quite harrowing. I think this was for effect, and boy did it work. It was very intense. This is a great, great film. It is the first film I’ve seen that acknowledges 9/11 without being ABOUT 9/11, and that is a very good thing. And it doesn’t mention it to draw up emotion, not at all. Please, see this film. It is brilliant, and it deserves to be recognized.
My Ratings: [Average / 5]
—Jason Eaken, age 19
Positive—This is a movie that will make you think for days and days after seeing it. As is his nature, Spike Lee pushes the envelope between provocative and inappropriate. In 25th Hour, he digs deep into our souls, forcing us to wrestle with the sympathy we feel for Edward Norton’s character, a good-hearted man who is about to begin a 7-year sentence for selling drugs. While it could be easy as a Christian to justify prison as the consequence for a life of wickedness, this film doesn’t let you off that easily. Although he expresses deep sadness and fear in the hours before his departure—not unlike what Jesus went through at Gethsemane, Monty ultimately faces up to his punishment in a couple of beautiful scenes with his father. The cast is superb as each character, especially Monty’s two best friends, bring a unique set of challenges to the story. Set in New York, 25th Hour is laden with references to 9/11. Since the story is based on a book written before 9/11, Spike Lee didn’t have to include anything relating to the WTC tragedy, but if anyone has the boldness to remind us of 9/11, it would be Spike Lee. I believe it’s artfully done especially in the opening credits where some post 9/11 postcard-like shots of lower Manhattan, tell the whole story. There are plenty of f-bombs, especially in an unforgettable mirror scene, but in light of the events, they’re not out of place or gratuitous. There are two violent scenes as well, but for similar reasons, they’re well-suited to the story. It’s an R-rated movie, for adults only. “25th Hour” is not for everyone, but as a Christian and Spike Lee fan, I enjoyed it tremendously. It will be talked about for a long time.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Andrew Kagan, age 31
Negative—This is the most offensive film I have seen in years. I am particularly speaking of a specific scene where the main character (Monty) played by Edward Norton stands in front of the mirror and cusses the f-word at every religion and ethnic group in the world, including our Lord Jesus. I can’t believe that he used the f-word saying: “and f*** Jesus Christ.” From Deuteronomy 5:11, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold [him] guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 2½]
—Joseph, age 28