Julia Chasman

Julia Chasman

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25th Hour Review


Extraordinary
If you were to write a screenplay about a drug dealer who has just 24 hours of freedom left before he begins a seven-year prison sentence, what would you have him do? Repent? Fashion an elaborate escape? Have plenty of sex? That's probably why you haven't authored any Oscar-quality screenplays lately. Writer David Benioff, on the other hand, is likely to see a little golden statuette up close next year for his work on 25th Hour, a remarkable new film based on his novel of the same name.

Neither tearjerker nor suspenseful crime drama, 25th Hour is extraordinary in that it avoids all the clichés that such a premise so often invites. It is instead a carefully focused character study about a charismatic but condemned man who must come to grips with his sentence before morning. Edward Norton plays Montgomery Brogan, the felon in question. He spends his last free hours visiting his father (Brian Cox) and attending a going away party in his honor at a New York nightclub. In tow are his girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) and his two childhood pals, Frank (Barry Pepper) and Jakob (Philip Seymour Hoffman) -- the latter of which is so perfectly cast that you can't help but chuckle the first time you see Hoffman give his usual dyspeptic sneer, signaling that he is disgusted not only with his high school English students but essentially the entire outcome of his life.

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25th Hour Movie Review

25th Hour Movie Review

If you were to write a screenplay about a drug dealer who has just 24...

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