300 Words on 25TH HOUR

Posted: January 17, 2013 in 300 Words, Film, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A few prolific blogger buddies of mine on here and elsewhere have encouraged me to blog more, and nothing helps your writing like… well, writing more (You know how you get to Carnegie Hall, don’t ya?). So let me get to it. One regular feature I’ll be doing going forward is 300 words on a film. It won’t always be a straight review; it may simply be a different take on a movie, or a rant about a particular aspect from one. My picks will be a mix of new releases, and not-so-new ones, like today’s first entry, a film I’ve been championing for a decade now—


25th HOUR (2002)
Writer: David Benioff / Director: Spike Lee

25th Hour

Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends.

Adapted by Game of Thrones showrunner David Benioff from his own 2001 novel, this somber, but compelling film revolves around Monty Brogan (Edward Norton), a New York drug dealer who’s about to serve a 7-year prison sentence for trafficking. In the final hours before his inevitable lockup, he gathers his closest friends, Slaughtery (Barry Pepper) and Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman), both of whom took a different route in life—a Wall Street trader and high school teacher, respectively—and both of whom are dealing with their own personal crises. Monty also tries to make amends with his father and girlfriend. He suspects the latter (Rosario Dawson) may be the one who turned him in to the cops.

This subdued, character-driven piece is divisive director Spike Lee at his most restrained and introspective, and I dare say, best. Mr. Mars Blackmon shot the atmospheric drama in New York City just months after the attacks of September 11th, and as his “joints” (almost) always center on the lives of New Yorkers, it was impossible not to incorporate the pain and hope of the still-reeling city into the film’s already mournful narrative.

Fuck you, and this whole city, and everyone in it!

There’s an awesome DO THE RIGHT THING-style mirror scene late in the movie that, for the record, was not Spike ripping himself off. The rant was straight out of the novel (though, for all we know, Benioff may have been paying homage to Lee with it). The other standout scene is the film’s closing voiceover monologue from Monty’s blue collar father (Brian Cox), which is absolutely beautiful, and heartbreaking. 25TH HOUR’s pace and tone doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s one that has always struck a chord with me. I think it’s a flawed near-masterpiece that I’m pretty sure would crack the top 20 of my Favorite Films of the 2000s.


Check this one out if you haven’t seen it. I’d like to hear other some people’s thoughts on it.
Thanks for taking the time, gang.

  1. Ryan says:

    Freakin love this movie, and one of the reasons why Norton is one of my favorite actors. The mirror scene u mentioned is absolutely amazing. Great write up. I like this “300 words” idea. Also, I hate you for getting me addicted to Mondo prints. While I was already obsessed with them, I never owned one until The Creature one. Now I have The Wolfman and was lucky enough to get the Jaws print that went on sale today. My wallet… my poor wallet. Haha!

    • Shawn Talley says:

      Thanks, brother.
      And damn you! I wanted that Jaws print, but they always release them while I’m out to lunch, and even when I do catch the occasional sale, I’ve gone through the ordering motions a couple times only to get the error/sold out bounceback. Either way, congrats. And you’re welcome! Or I’m sorry… not really sure which.

  2. […] on it. I figured I could squeeze it into another ’300 Words’ post. Here’s my last 300 Words blog if you missed […]

  3. […] 300 Words entries: 12 YEARS A SLAVE, 25TH HOUR _________________________________________ Today’s Distractions Listening: Guardians of the […]

  4. […] Previous 300 Words entries: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY | 12 YEARS A SLAVE | 25TH HOUR […]

  5. […] only says “ficus.” Because of Brian Cox’s beautiful, gut-wrenching closing monologue in 25th Hour. Because I’ve fallen for you like a blind roofer. Because what a story it’ll make: “Shoeless […]

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