25th Hour

Rated NR

Spike Lee is a very talented filmmaker, but he’d be better if some old-school 1940s Hollywood mogul would step in and re-edit his movies. A 45-minute trim would have made this a great film. As it is, there’s a lot of good stuff and a lot of bad stuff, and the good only outweighs the bad because it’s so good. Actually, the bad is really bad, so it’s a close call. Ed Norton plays a drug dealer spending his last night clubbing and settling accounts before he goes to prison. The ubiquitous Brian Cox plays his father, and delivers a truly awful voice-over monologue at the end (though it’s not his fault, it’s just written way too schmaltzy.) In the middle, Anna Paquin gives the best performance of her career, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper and Rosario Dawson do a bang-up job of what the ancient Greeks called "acting." The highlight of the film, though, is Ed Norton doing one of the finest guy-talking-to-himself-in-the-mirror schticks since the invention of guys, talking and mirrors.

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