In "25th Hour," director Spike Lee and writer David Benioff unforgettably capture the mixed state of dread, disgust and weird nostalgia experienced by a convicted drug dealer in his last day of freedom before beginning a seven-year prison term.
Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) is a high roller who slipped up and now faces the ruins of his once-lush life. Though he's smart enough to accept the blame for his fate, he's also savvy enough to be scared of prison and full of regret about a life which led nowhere-and nice enough to have kept, despite his profession, the loyalty of his friends and family. Now they all come together for a rite of passage, a roast, a wake-one of those nights when everything can be said, nothing can be avoided and all hell is set to break loose. It's a superb film, one of Lee's best, with sharp, perceptive writing from Benioff, a tough-tender New York City writer in the Richard Price mold and near-perfect performances (especially by Norton, and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper as his lifelong buddies). But much of what makes it so powerful and moving comes from Lee's melancholy, heart-struck feelings about New York City, in the throes of its post-9/11 trauma and togetherness.
See Metromix.com for full review.