Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

25th Hour

As a longtime semi-fan of Spike Lee, I'd had 25th Hour on my "to watch" list ever since it first came out. I was interested in the setting in post-9/11 New York, keen to see Ed Norton, willing to pay money for another great Lee flick. So even though all the details added up right, for some reason it's taken until now for me to get around to watching this film.

The basic premise is simple enough: one evening in the presence of Ed Norton, who, the following day, is going to prison on a drugs rap. He hangs with his father, his girlfriend, a couple of old schoolfriends, his dog, his colleague... What we have here, ladies and gents, is a character study and a treatise on the value of relationships.

The performances are almost all strong, with really only one duff note. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper are good, as you'd expect, Brian Cox even better, and Rosario Dawson very appealing. The weak link is the drastically overrated (well she must be rated highly by someone since she gets so much damn work) Anna Paquin. Nothing of her character rings true -- from the oh-so-obviously-fake tattoo, to her role as a schoolgirl, to... well, it all sucks.

Paquin's appearance is a shame, because it really hurts what was otherwise a pretty good movie -- funnily enough, much as I felt Jodie Foster's did in Lee's Inside Man. Does Spike suffer the same problem as Tarantino, in that he can't write convincing roles for women? It's sure starting to look that way...

Acting: 12 (severely penalized for Paquin)
Story: 13
Direction: 15
Enjoyment: 14
Involvement: 15
Total: 69

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