25th Hour

Monty Brogan: Edward Norton
Jacob Elinsky: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Frank Slaughtery: Barry Pepper
Naturelle: Rosario Dawson
Mary D’Annunzio: Anna Paquin
James Brogan: Brian Cox
Touchstone Pictures presents a film directed by Spike Lee. Written by David Benioff, based on his novel. Running time: 132 minutes. Rated R (for strong language and some violence).

Central Theme
Life is tough¢â‚¬¦ full of choices, which once made, will yield consequences which may or may not allow a second chance. It goes better with friends, but who are your friends and what do they want?

We are going to spend one day with Monty Brogan and his friends. This is not just any day he’s about to enter prison for seven years having been caught red-handed in a drug bust. In addition to good-byes to his father, two best friends, girlfriend and drug boss, Monty wants the answer to some essential questions: who snitched? Who are his real friends? Can a guy who looks like him (white, pretty face) really survive prison? His friend Frank wants to know which of his only three options will his best friend take: Will he run? Kill himself? Or serve the time? Everybody has questions and as the day progresses we start getting answers through a series of farewell conversations and good-bye parties.

Throughout the day we learn that Monty, with his high-risk life as a drug dealer, is not the only one living life on an edge. His friends are running their own risks–Frank as a high-stakes investor, Jacob as a high-school teacher infatuated with an underage student and Naturelle who has allowed herself to fall in love with a man about to go to jail. (Or is hers the risk taken by a betrayer?)

As we try to assign blame for Monty’s fate, we find our task complicated by the fact that his drug money bailed his dad out of a financial crisis, provided a nice life for Naturelle, and was observed but not blocked by his best friends. Everybody around Monty feels guilty for not stopping him, but he only regrets getting caught, especially since he had always planned to convert his cash to investments and live the honest life. The one moment we sense Monty’s sense of personal responsibility is in a sequence where he looks in a mirror and tells every slice of New York life to “f k” themselves (gays, blacks, Indians, Italians, 5th avenue matrons, the church, priests, Jesus Christ himself), but then looks at himself and says “f k” you Monty. Later he confesses to Naturelle that he blew it, but again, it seems more about getting caught, not wasting people’s lives as a drug dealer.

As his final day nears its end, Monty does discover who betrayed him, Frank is asked for one last , unimaginable favor, Jacob yields to temptation and his father offers an escape to the west. Spike Lee unfolds this possibility in a visualized dream of new start, family and late life confession to a loving family.

This is a plot-less story with a rich payoff through the provocation of “what if” questions and clearly drawn complex characters. On the ¢â‚¬Ëœrunaway sequence’ Monty sees two signs, The Baptist Church sign that says “Christ is The Answer” and another that says “Jesus Saves.” The runaway sequence also shows the American flag waving on dad’s Jeep, but this follows opening scenes with the spotlights commemorating 911, the fireman memorial in dad’s bar, the Frank and Jacob discussion in a condo looking down on the empty space at 911. Lee reminds us that the American dream¢â‚¬¦is really just a dream. 911 is more real than the idea of a fresh start and hopeful outcome for someone whose circumstances have driven them to bad living.

Like Doyle his dog, who he rescued from near death in the film’s opening scene because “he still has some life in him,” we sense that Monty, a young man once full of promise and now on life’s trash heap, will live to see another day, but will it be a departure from his past or a compounding of the past’s sorrows?

Beliefs num
–Life consists of a series of choices which once made will yield inevitable consequences.
–Some people who do bad things aren’t really bad people, but rather are good people in bad situations.
–The real problem with doing the wrong thing is getting caught.
–Given the corrupt nature of the criminal justice system are there really any good guys?
–Wealth is entrapping. Even if you want to leave it- you feel you can’t.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Why do you want to live? Why does a near dead-dog want to live? Why would a human in similar circumstances want to live?
–Are there consequences for the choices we make?
–What guides you in those choices?
–Once entrapped in wealth acquired illegally, what does it take to leave that life?
–If faced with seven years in prison would you run? Kill Yourself? Go to Prison?

Provocative Quotes byline
–He’s till got some life left in him.
==Monty saves Doyle the dog.
–I got touched. I’m over.
==Monty to former drug customer.
–We were undefeated that year. Then I got kicked out for fighting and everything fell apart.
==Monty visits the private school where it all started going downhill.
–I want to be that girl in X-man. The one who can walk through the walls. If I can’t do that one shot to the head-problem solved.
–The only people I trust are you, Jacob and Frank-the guys I grew up with.
–I’m not going to say anything. He’s going to hell for seven years. What am I going to say? Good Luck? I’m going to get him drunk and make sure he has one last good night.
–Boys that look like Monty don’t do well in prison. He’s got three choices. One he can run. Two he can catch the bullet train. Three, he can go to prison, Tonight say good-bye to Monty; You’ll never see him again.
==Frank to Jacob.
–You know what a man should never say in a Victoria’s secret? Does that come in children’s sizes?
==Frank advising Jacob about his infatuation.
–You’re a fan of DUSK? He’s the truth, the absolute truth.
==Mary to Jacob.
–She’s the only girl I fantasized over after I slept with her. Is that normal?
==Monty to Frank about Naturelle.
–How could I do this to him? Look the other way? For the last ten years I’ve seen him go deeper and deeper. I didn’t say s t. I sat there and watched him ruin his life. You didn’t do s t either¢â‚¬¦You told him to stop? The hell you did¢â‚¬¦ You never had a real job in your life. You’ve been living off the fat of the land.
==Frank to Naturelle.
–‘m Irish. I can’t get drunk.
–Remember what I said. A man with no friends.
==Advice on who to attack in prison.
–I’ve got one last thing I need you to do. I need you to make me look ugly.
==Monty to Frank.
–You know when they catch people? When they come home. You never come home¢â‚¬¦ In the desert you find the silence, you find peace, you can find God¢â‚¬¦Find a nice little town¢â‚¬¦you know why there are towns in the desert? People wanted to start over¢â‚¬¦I believe in God’s kingdom. I’ll be with you and your mother, but not in this life¢â‚¬¦then one day you sit your family down and you tell them the truth. Who you are and where you came from and then how it came so close to never happening.
==Dad, offering Monty a way out.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in January 10, 2003 by | No Comments »

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