(Edward Norton, Barry Pepper / R / 134 mins / Touchstone)
Overview:Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) has been dealing drugs since his prep-school days, but now his past crimes have caught up with him. After being busted by the DEA, Brogan gets a seven-year jail term. 25th Hour tells the story of his last night of freedom, a fleeting period of time during which he catches up with his two best friends, an investment banker (Barry Pepper) and a teacher (Philip Seymour Hoffman), at a nightclub. His girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) wants to spend time with him too, but he begins to wonder whether she was the one who turned him in. Brian Cox plays Brogan's father, a recovering alcoholic who still has faith in his only son's future.
Verdict: If '25th Hour' does not quite work as a plausible and coherent story, it produces a wrenching, dazzling succession of moods at the very least. For as intelligent as '25th Hour' is, it's simply not very exciting. Shaky and sometimes not even very fresh, all of the performances are, at the least, remarkable. '25th Hour' is quite extraordinary in that it avoids all the clichés that such a premise so often invites, yet there are two films at war in director Spike Lee's newest feature: One uninteresting, the other an epic of near-tragic miscalculation.
Reviewed by Russ Trunk