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Great Scenes – 25th HOUR

25thhour

In director Spike Lee‘s 25th Hour (2002), Edward Norton play Monty Brogan, a drug dealer facing serious time in prison. He has one day and night to say adios to his closest friends and loved ones before the rest of his life is altered forever. His father James (played wonderfully by acting powerhouse Brian Cox) does his best to entertain his son during this bleakest of days, but as you can imagine it’s a hard enough road to face – let alone discuss. When Monty excuses himself to use the restroom he experiences a moment that Spike Lee punctuates with a reflection of not only the man but an audience sitting in the dark. Staring into the mirror (but detached in his movement), a lost Monty sees the simple words “Fuck You” underlined and accented with an exclamation mark. A common enough occurrence in all our lives, but what follows is cinematic brilliance, the ultimate montage, laced with hatred and wrapped in venom. Monty unloads on his native New York, highlighting everything – and everyone – he thinks is wrong with it. Blame is cast like buckshot as he eviscerates all races, creeds and walks of life. But before the audience can scream “enough already” it clicks: Monty’s the only soul to blame. His pain is his alone, earned alone, and to try to pin the situation on anyone else would be the ultimate lie. A grand illustration of the old adage, “you made your bed, now lie in it.” And though he used a similar scene in He Got Game (1998), Spike Lee employs it better here – where it lands like a ton of bricks and reveals the darkness in all of us, which seeps out when times get tough and we seek to take things out on our neighbors.

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