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25th Hour

By Bret McCabe | Posted

Ticking off the 24 hours before Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton and his grab bag of mannered gesticulations) begins a seven-year prison sentence, Spike Lee's talky 25th Hour infuses this last day with a gloomy undertow that never adequately surfaces. Brogan perfunctorily spends time with his girlfriend, Naturelle (Rosario Dawson), father (Brian Cox), former employer (Levani Outchaneichvili), and lifelong friends--sad sack private-school teacher Jakob (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and world-by-the-balls broker Francis (a fierce Barry Pepper)--but he can't escape the specter of where he's headed. Lee dazzles with his usual vérité expressionism, but like his frequent asides to Sept. 11--firefighter and police-officer memorials, ground zero's cavernous hole--the movie feels like a symbol looking for a slogan and coming up empty. And perhaps that's Lee's simple point in portraying Brogan' cautionary, remorseless saga:Brogan knows that he's entering a life-changing period, but who he is right now is ill equipped to conceive of its lasting significance.

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