25th Hour

I watched the movie 25th Hour last night.  It’s a Spike Lee joint starring Ed Norton, about a drug dealer who gets busted by the police.  The movie depicts the 24 hours before his jailtime begins, with flashbacks to earlier times to explain things.  Ed’s character (Montgomery aka "Monty") is struggling to figure out who dropped a dime on him, suspecting his girlfriend.

(Warning: I’m going to give away some of the details from the movie now.)

Interestingly, his bodyguard’s name is Konstantin, and they even got the nickname version correct (it’s Russian, but pronounced "Kost’-ya" with English characters).  It was funny to hear Monty call him a "fat Russian something-or-other" and then hear his response, "it’s Ukrainian!"  Funny to me, at least, because similar exchanges happen all the time (in jest) between me and my roommates Konstantin and Dimitry.  Except they’re both pretty skinny so the jokes are never about their weight (more like their Russian mafia connections).

There were at least 2 scenes that were incredibly similar to scenes in American History X, which (IIRC?) is also a Spike Lee joint, and definitely also stars Ed Norton.  The first was when Ed is confronting the boss of the drug ring (the head of a white supremacy group in American History X).  He is standing with his back to the door of the boss’ room, facing the boss who’s behind his desk, and he points and says "When I walk out that door, I’m out, you hear me!?"  The line is nearly if not completely identical in the two movies.

The second scene is towards the end, when Monty is just about to go to prison.  He’s with his two best friends (and his dog), and he’s asking one of them (Frank) to "make him ugly" by beating him up, for his own good when he gets into prison.  (Because he’s a pretty boy, you know, and they "don’t do well" in prison.)  Frank stands up from the bench he’s sitting on, and is like "no way, you’re crazy, I won’t do that!"  The other friend Jacob is just like "what??" and he’s still sitting on the bench for a few seconds.  Frank and Monty are yelling back and forth at each other, moving into the center of the little street they’re on, and eventually Jacob gets up and is like "Monty, stop this!"  At this point, Monty turns around and yells at Jacob to shut up.  The camera is switching quickly from person to person to side-views and it makes the scene very intense.  Well in American History X, the scene where Ed is yelling at his mom’s Jewish boyfriend is very similar; he turns around and yells at his sister who was pleading with him to stop, just like Jacob was in 25th Hour.  The same fast-paced somewhat-disorienting camera techniques were used too.

In 25th Hour, Frank does end up beating Monty pretty bad -- he’s got him pinned on the ground and he’s beating his face pretty hard.  It’s an incredibly sad and emotional scene as Frank is sobbing the entire time, and Monty isn’t fighting back at all.  I actually thought he was going to die.

The thing about this movie is, I thought it had a decent moral, because throughout the story his friends are talking about how he deserves to go to prison because he’s been living off the suffering of other people.  So even though you identify with the main character and feel bad for him, you’re sorta like "well, yeah, that’s what you get, you jerk."  However, at the end as his dad is driving him to prison, he’s like "Monty you just give me the word, and I’ll head west" and that’s what he does.  The last ten minutes of the movie depict the rest of Monty’s life out west, with his dad narrating from the present, saying things like "you go west, and you never come back... you don’t write, you find a job and you make a new life for yourself, the way it was supposed to be... I’ll miss you, but I believe in God’s kingdom, and I’ll be reunited with you and your mother... just not in this life."  And it’s sorta sad, but then it’s like "yes!  he got away!"  But then it’s like "hmm that moral really stinks: live your life as a drug dealer, get busted, then run from the law and start a new life and it works and you’re happily ever after."

But THEN, what’s really confusing is, the very last scene is back in the car as his dad is driving him to prison, presumably right after he said "you just give me the word, and we’ll head west."  So you sorta don’t really know, did he go west, or not?

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies


01. Jun 25, 2003 at 1:27am by Nathan:

Basicly the determining factor of whether or not this movie is worth your time is the fact that a man by the name of Edward Norton plays the lead role. Because of this I think that this movie is worth your time. Every movie I have ever seen with Edward Norton I would go out and buy. Although as a Christian I should be discerning of what I allow myself to watch I think that the movies Mr. Norton makes have a generally good moral, even the movie American History X.

02. Jun 25, 2003 at 1:28am by Nathan:

Anyways yes go see this movie. Sorry

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