Who Bought It? For the first time, Max.
Why? Max loved it in high school and it’s one of those movies that inspired him to write movies. Also: it’s a Spike Lee joint with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Anna Paquin, Ed Norton, Clay Davis from The Wire and former Baltimore Raven Tony Siragusa (Goose!).
Non-buyer’s Response: “It’s hard to argue with that cast.” – Megan
Max’s Thoughts: This is the movie that features the (in)famous “Fuck you” speech. For that, and that alone I believe it is worth owning. Beyond that, I watched this movie during my Edward Norton phase (various points throughout high school) and loved it. I hadn’t watched it since I was 18. Watching it now, it feels slow and the pacing is all off. At times, it is pitch perfect, but too many scenes drag, and there are too many interstitial scenes (Norton as Monty walking up to his apartment for a superfluous 10-second tracking shot) that serve no purpose outside of atmosphere. There is something to be said for atmosphere and tone, two things that 25th Hour has in spades, but it’s not everything. There’s also something to be said for letting a scene breath and take its time, but too much of any good thing is no good at all.
I’m still voting to keep it because I feel like there is a ton to learn in this film as a sound designer and editor, and some pretty good data regarding what not to do as a writer. It’s worth noting 25th Hour is based on a novel and adapted for the screen by Game of Thrones show-runner David Benioff, and it feels not unlike one of that shows slower, more uneventful episodes.
Megan’s Thoughts: This was my first time watching 25th Hour and I think Max over-hyped it for me. Some scenes were gems that will stick with me: Monty (Edward Norton) and Frank (Barry Pepper) discussing what they’ll do when Monty gets out of jail, when Monty and his father (Brian Cox) have their “last supper,” when Monty asks Frank to “make him ugly” and the sound cuts out so all you hear is birds chirping. And yet, I feel that one viewing is enough. At 135 mins, I could see it cutting down to well below the two-hour mark and holding its story. I’m glad I saw it, and I think it’s a great example of, as Max mentioned, learning how to let a scene breath and creating atmosphere, but it’s not a movie I’m hankering to see again and again. My vote is to toss it, but we agreed when we started this venture that it had to be unanimous to throw anything away.
Verdict: Keep it.