25th Hour

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the 2002 film. For other uses, see The 25th Hour (disambiguation).
25th Hour
25th Hour Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Spike Lee
Produced by
Screenplay by David Benioff
Based on The 25th Hour 
by David Benioff
Music by Terence Blanchard
Cinematography Rodrigo Prieto
Edited by Barry Alexander Brown
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • December 19, 2002 (2002-12-19)
Running time
135 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5 million[1]
Box office $23,928,503[1]

25th Hour is a 2002 American drama film directed by Spike Lee and starring Edward Norton. Based on the novel The 25th Hour by David Benioff, who also wrote the screenplay, it tells the story of a man's last 24 hours of freedom as he prepares to go to prison for 7 years for dealing drugs.


A canary yellow vintage Super Bee pulls up short on a New York City street, and Montgomery "Monty" Brogan gets out with his buddy Kostya to look at a dog lying in the road. The animal was mauled in a dogfight and Monty intends to shoot him but changes his mind after he looks him in the eye. Monty then decides to take him to a nearby clinic instead.

Fast forward to late 2002. Monty is about to begin serving a seven-year prison sentence for dealing drugs. He sits in the park with Doyle, the dog he rescued in the first scene, on his last day of freedom. He plans to meet childhood friends Frank Slaughtery and Jacob Elinsky at a club with his girlfriend Naturelle. Frank is a hotshot trader on Wall Street; Jacob is an introverted high school teacher with a crush on seventeen-year-old Mary, one of his students.

Monty visits his father, James, a former firefighter and recovering alcoholic who owns a bar, to confirm their plans to drive to the prison the following morning. Monty's drug money helped him keep the bar, so a remorseful James sneaks a drink when Monty goes to the bathroom. Facing himself in the mirror, Monty lashes out in his mind against everyone else: all the New York stereotypes he can think of, from the cabbies to the firefighters, the corner grocers to the mobsters, as if he hates them all. Finally, he turns on himself, revealing that he is actually angry for getting greedy and having not given up drug dealing before he was caught.

Monty sold drugs for Uncle Nikolai, a Russian mobster. Kostya tries to persuade Monty it was Naturelle who turned him in, since she knew where he hid his drugs and money. Monty refused to turn state's evidence against Nikolai but he's not sure what Nikolai will do at the club that night. He remembers how he met Naturelle when she was eighteen, hanging around his old school, and how happy they were before he was arrested. He asks Frank to find out if it was Naturelle who betrayed him.

At the club, Jacob sees Mary so Monty invites her in with them. Discussing what kind of a future Monty can have after prison, Frank says they can open a bar together, even though he told Jacob he believes Monty's life is over and he deserves his sentence for dealing drugs. Frank accuses Naturelle of living high on Monty's money, not caring where it came from, but she reminds him that he knew as well and said nothing. The argument culminates in Frank insulting Naturelle's ethnicity and Naturelle slapping Frank and leaving. Jacob, meanwhile, finds the courage to kiss Mary, but both appear to be in shock afterwards and go their separate ways.

Monty and Kostya go down to talk with Uncle Nikolai, who gives Monty advice on surviving in prison. Nikolai then reveals it was Kostya, not Naturelle, who betrayed him, and offers Monty a chance to kill Kostya in exchange for protecting his father's bar. Monty refuses, reminding Nikolai that he asked Monty to trust Kostya in the first place. He walks out, leaving Kostya to be killed by the Russian mobsters.

Monty returns to his apartment and tells Naturelle that he's sorry he mistrusted her. He then leaves for the park, where he transfers custody of Doyle to Jacob. Then he admits that he is terrified of being raped in prison, whereupon he asks Frank to beat him, saying if he goes in ugly he might have a chance at survival. Frank refuses, so Monty deliberately provokes him until Jacob intervenes and Monty attacks him. Frank is goaded into taking out his frustration, leaving Monty bruised and bloody, with a broken nose. Frank is in tears as Monty gets up and goes home.

Naturelle tries to comfort him as Monty's father arrives to take him to Otisville. On the drive to prison, James suggests they go west, into hiding, giving Monty one last vision of freedom. Once again Monty sees a parade of faces from the streets of the city, followed by a vision of a future where Monty avoids imprisonment, reunites with Naturelle, starts a family, and grows old. As the fantasy ends, we see Monty, his eyes closed and face still bruised, sitting in the passenger's seat of the car, which has driven past the bridge to the west and towards prison.



The film was in the "planning stages" at the time of the September 11 attacks and so Lee "decided not to ignore the tragedy but to integrate it into his story."[2]


The film received a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 161 reviews.[3]

Five years after 9/11, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "Released 15 months after Sept. 11, 2001, Spike Lee's 25th Hour is the only great film dealing with the Sept. 11 tragedy... 25th Hour is as much an urban historical document as Rossellini's "Open City," filmed in the immediate aftermath of the Nazi occupation of Rome."[2]

Film critic Roger Ebert added this film to his "Great Movies" list on December 16, 2009.[4] A. O. Scott,[5] Richard Roeper[6] and Roger Ebert all put it on their "best films of the decade list".[7]


The film's musical score was composed by Terence Blanchard. Other songs that appear in the film (and are not included in the original score) are as follows:

  1. Big Daddy Kane – "Warm It Up, Kane"
  2. Craig Mack – "Flava in Ya Ear"
  3. The Olympic Runners – "Put the Music Where Your Mouth Is"
  4. Grandmaster Melle Mel – "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)"
  5. Liquid Liquid – "Cavern"
  6. Cymande – "Bra"
  7. Cymande – "Dove"
  8. Cymande – "The Message"
  9. Bruce Springsteen – "The Fuse"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "25th Hour (2002)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "9/11: FIVE YEARS LATER: Spike Lee's '25th Hour". SFGate.com. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  3. ^ "25th Hour (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 16, 2009). "25th Hour Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  5. ^ Dunn, Brian (December 26, 2009). "A. O. Scott's Ten Best Films of the 2000s". Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ Roeper, Richard (January 1, 2010). "Roeper's best films of the decade". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 30, 2009). "The best films of the decade". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 

External links[edit]