from Film Forum, 01/02/03
The 25th Hour is the latest film from the controversial director Spike Lee. Edward Norton stars as Monty, a reforming drug dealer trying to re-evaluate his life during his 24-hour countdown to incarceration. The film is drawing rave reviews and loud condemnations alike from mainstream critics. Religious press critics have specific complaints about Lee's storytelling.
Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) writes, "Lee expects us to overlook Monty's drug dealing history to sympathize with his plight." He adds, "25th Hour is the first major production to use post 9/11 images as part of its narrative. If only Lee had something more profound to say. A scene that overlooked the recovery operation at Ground Zero was a wasted opportunity. It is only one of many elements to be mishandled."
But a critic at Movieguide says, "Christian hope is offered in contrast to the vileness of Monty's environment. Thus, 25th Hour offers a morality tale with some Christian elements set in a broken pagan world where the ugliness of life is exposed in all its horror."