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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is meant for mature audiences only, and they may want to think twice about letting kids watch. Some older teens may be able to handle the violence, emotional distress, and questionable situations. The premise centers on the deeds of a drug dealer. The majority of the characters swear repeatedly. Almost every main character is placed in some kind of questionable situation (quasi-pedophilia, assault). Additionally, the film's New York setting and content evoke the memory of September 11th.
What's the story?
A big-time drug dealer for the Russian mob, Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton) has one day left on the street before he heads to prison to serve a seven-year sentence. The film, told in partial flashback, chronicles his final day and the events that led up to it. Questioning his past, present, and future, Monty must make peace and some hard decisions before his morning ride to the joint. Far from alone, Monty suffers along with his innermost circle of friends and family. His girlfriend Natural (Rosario Dawson) is the object of both his affection and his suspicion. High school buddies -- a high-powered trader (Barry Pepper) and a squeamish high school teacher (Philip Seymour Hoffman) -- struggle with their feelings and Monty's expectations, while his father (Brian Cox) searches for ways to relieve his own personal guilt. What will happen in the 25th hour?
Is it any good?
Like many of Lee's films, 25TH HOUR uses stylized cinematography to effectively underscore the emotions of those who inhabit its world. Repeated takes of the same scene, shifts in lighting, and Lee's classic people mover shot highlight the helplessness or lack of personal agency of the characters. Excellent performances all around complement a visually stunning film. Norton (American History X, Fight Club) turns in yet another fantastic and controlled performance, while Pepper (The Green Mile, 61), Hoffman (Happiness, Magnolia), Dawson (Kids , Sin City), Paquin (The Piano, X2) -- as Hoffman's student and object of lust, and Cox (Braveheart, X2) add depth to Monty's character and the overall narrative. Despite the fact that 25th Hour is a quality film, parents should know that the drugs, violence, nudity, and language in the film make it inappropriate for kids under 18.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the racist diatribes in the film. Monty rages into a mirror about people of every race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation; what does this moment communicate about changes occurring within Monty? Families may also want to talk about Spike Lee as a filmmaker -- both as today's most successful African-American filmmaker and as an artist who covers a wide variety of subjects.
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