25th Hour (2002)

Directed By: Spike Lee

Written By: David Benioff (screenplay and novel)

Starring: Edward Norton, Barry Pepper and Philip Seymour Hoffman


I always thought there were 24 hours in a day. I guess I was wrong.


This film is a slice of the protagonist’s life before he spends 7 yeas in the clink.

Normally, I like Spike Lee movies better when he also writes them. Luckily, 25th Hour seemed to be a good compromise: it is still set in the New York City that he knows so well, he managed to sneak in a little diatribe about racial tension and used his floating character dolly shots.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, or as I know him,  PSH, is one of the most talented actors in the biz. His list of classic characters that he has played is immense (Big Lebowski, Twister and Capote). He has rarely disappointed me, even when he takes on a shitty movie like Pirate Radio. In 25th Hour, he manages to capture the subtlety of his inappropriate High School teacher character, while giving him some humanity. I will gush more about PSH in the next film I review that he is in (I think he might be in the next Hunger Games, boo hiss).

Also in this movie is Barry Pepper, who may be one of the most underrated actors. He puts together a heavy performance, with a tough exterior shell and tender interior, like a lobster or crab. I hope I get to work with him one day.

What makes this film great is the simplicity of the story and how it relies on mood alone to carry it. If I was being sent to jail for 7 years, I think it would suck as much as Edward Norton’s character makes you feel.

A great one to revisit if you’ve already seen it and if you haven’t then what are you waiting for?

Problem: Crucial element unexplained

Mood for watching: Gangsta

What to eat and drink: Street meat and champagne

If I made it: I would continue making movies with PSH in them

Why watch: It’s a Spike Lee Joint


6 thoughts on “25th Hour (2002)

    • Thanks for reading. I try really hard not to give anything away but they don’t really explain why a certain character gives him up to the cops. I can guess but that could have been explained in two lines of dialogue.

      • I know what you mean now. I never thought too much on that. That was something I just took for granted I suppose. I’ll definitely keep an eye for an explanation the next time I watch it. You have a point though.

  1. Solid points about 25th, can’t agree more about PSH who continues to grow and develop as an actor even when he’s not stretched much by the film – Moneyball, The Invention of Lying, etc. Barry Pepper is also a great character actor and generally brings a lot to every film he’s been in, standing out in recent memory in Tommy Lee Jones’ film In The Valley of Elijah and Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. Norton is competent here but he seems mostly brooding, stuck half way between thought and action, delivering a lot of what we’ve already seen from him. I highly recommend Magnolia (my review here – http://rorydean.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/magnolia-1999-via-merchbots-movie-reviews/) for many reasons, including PSH, and if you haven’t seen Jack Goes Boating (my review – http://rorydean.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/jack-goes-boating-2010/) it’s a worthy venture with PSH directing and acting.

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