Film reviews

The 25th Hour, Dir: Spike Lee - Cert: 15

How do you enjoy a film, let alone review one half of whose time has already expired before you even take to your seat? Like the child who clutches for the balloon that has slid from their grip, I struggled to catch the plot and found myself being immersed in what was a highly engaging piece of film making. Directed by Spike Lee, this David Benioff screen play is one I think I'd better leave to the synopsis to explain;

"The 25th Hour depicts the last day of freedom for a young man before he begins serving a seven-year jail term for drug dealing. Prowling through the city until dawn with his two close male friends and his girlfriend, he is forced to re-examine his life and how he got himself into his predicament, which leads to a shocking, disturbing finale." text here

So where was it I came in? Well round about Melle Mel's 'White Lines', always a keeper to my ears, this time remixed to no ill effect by the DJ in the club the friends had found themselves at, trying to deal with the news of lead character 'Monty Brogan's' (Edward Norton) impending fate. It's loud, it's fast moving and the sub-plots make it hard for my eyes to translate, but catching the first I smile as 'Jacob Elinsky' (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a rather straight laced English teacher, wrestles with the fact that having bumped into one of his pupils, she is now coming on to him. The camera expands on this idea, as you find yourself reading the scene as you would a screen-play, with 'Jacob' getting himself into more trouble than he is prepared to handle.

This is just one of many brilliantly observed ideas, that of regrets, the mistakes the characters have made in their life, easy money, teaching youth who obviously have more on their minds than just punctuating the page, but the most important of all is the bond of friendship. This culminates in one that examines that of father and son. His father the working class Irish-American who has put his bar up as bond so that Monty will not have to spend his final hours interned before he starts his jail sentence.

The finale is one that will leave you lifting yourself from your seat, still asking questions as to how the film actually ends. I think that Spike's meeting Benioff, was one that many would surely say was made on a higher order. A screenplay that he has eloquently committed to celluloid, allowing even me (who had the bad manners or misfortune to miss half) and yet still rave about it days after! 8/10

Nick James

Odeon Online


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