25th Hour

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(2002) ★★★★

Sky Movies Select: Monday 13 July, 3.20pm

Edward Norton tries to resolve his ruined life in the final 24 hours of his freedom. Rescuing a badly beaten dog and flipping money to a homeless man marks Norton as a good guy. But he’s also a drug dealer, and he’s been found out. The DEA had a warrant to search his apartment – and they knew exactly where to look for the hidden stash. For his final night on the town he wants to put things right with girlfriend Rosario Dawson – was she the one who tipped off the cops? – and his two oldest buddies: Wall Street trader Barry Pepper and highschool teacher Philip Seymour Hoffman. Their true characters are revealed as the evening unfolds. A framed poster of Cool Hand Luke is on Norton’s wall, but he’s no jailhouse martyr. He’s a frightened boy facing seven years in hell: “I’m gonna be a 38-year-old ex-con punk with government issued dentures.” For all the flamboyance of the acting (the entire cast is excellent) and the funny-sad exchanges in a sharply observant script, there’s a subdued tone to Spike Lee’s serious drama, the first film from New York in the post-9/11 era (and quite possibly the last good film Lee has made). Beams from searchlights rise into the night sky where the World Trade Center used to be. Bulldozers sift through the wreckage at Ground Zero. Posters and pictures adorn the city streets. Inevitably, it adds resonance to Norton’s regret at his wasted life. As does the fine score by Terence Blanchard, a mournfully melodic hymn to lost lives and missed opportunities. There’s so much to admire along the way – Hoffman lost in drooling reverie as 17-year-old student Anna Paquin stands before him, her bare midriff gaudily decorated; the poignant scenes Norton shares with his ex-fireman dad Brian Cox; the Russian racketeers with their smiling threats and comical command of English – that the final foray into Raising Arizona’s rarefied atmosphere can be indulged.

Certificate: 15

Duration: 135min

Other Showings Time & Date
Sky Movies Select Wednesday, 22 July at 8:15AM
Sky Movies Select Saturday, 25 July at 1:30PM