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Edward Norton: 25th Hour

I have no idea how long it's been since I've last seen 25th Hour. It's considered one of Spike Lee's superlative works, up there with Do the Right Thing and Malcom X, and it's also thought of as one of Edward Norton's best, on par with American History X and Primal Fear. But anyways, so much of it felt like watching for the first time. I was working on my Snow White write up at the time, but kept being drawn into the goings on on the screen. And some of it felt incredibly familiar. I dropped everything for my favorite scene. I have so much more appreciation for the film as a whole now than I did before.

Norton's performance is just such a nuanced mix of strength and vulnerability, a tough guy brought to his breaking point as he prepares to face the next seven years in prison. I'm always in awe of this guy, but what really struck me this time around was his supporting cast. Specifically his two best friends, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper. This was really when Hoffman started to move up in my list of favorites, and I've always kept an eye on Pepper after this (and Green Mile). Such an underappreciated actor. Anyways, the scenes that involve any combination of these three characters had my undivided each time. Great dynamic between them, really illustrating their unending loyalty despite their different backgrounds. Their final scene together is so gripping. Again, I've seen it before, but I still just felt it right in the chest.

I always felt the girls were a bit of a miscast. However, I did like Rosario Dawson a bit better this time around. I think what's always felt off is that I dont think I ever quite bought the chemistry between her and Edward Norton. Felt a little forced. But paying closer attention to some of the scenes with her and the other guys, it made a bit more sense. I think the thing that also made it feel off was including the scene where her Naturelle first meets Norton's Monty while she's still in high school. Just enough sketch mixed with their age differences didnt quite work. I also never cared for Anna Paquin in this movie or her storyline. I like that it gave Hoffan's character an internal battle, but she just seemed like such a cliche.

I actually had a few delays in watching this, mostly cause I didnt wanna be in a time crunch. Kinda glad I waited since I was actually able to give this movie the attention it deserves this morning. I'll leave you with one more scene that always stays with me. It's actually a deleted scene, but this is back in the day when I had so few DVDs that the special features were a novelty and I'd watch them all. This conversation about "sway" resulted in that word being added to my vocabulary.
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