Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 37
  2. Negative: 3 out of 37
  1. 25th Hour struck me as one of the best movies of 2002, but it's also a film that will strike some of its audience as ethically dubious or threatening.
  2. The movie is flawed by implausible psychology and moments of weak acting. But it's more than redeemed by Lee's passionate ideas about America today.
  3. The result is a film of sadness and power, the first great 21st century movie about a 21st century subject.
  4. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    100
    One of Spike Lee's greatest films -- seamlessly merging personal drama against a canvas of larger social significance on a level worthy of "Do the Right Thing."
  5. 90
    The film at its simplest serves as a cautionary tale, but it also functions as a meditation on how little it takes to redirect a life by choice or by chance.
  6. The movie resonates precisely because it serves as documentary only pretending to be fiction: It's set in a real place recovering from real pain, which Lee makes tangible.
  7. 90
    It captures the city's bitter, wire-taut mood after September 11th, and I hope that Disney -- finds some way to bring this acrid and brilliant little picture to the large audience it deserves. [13 January 2003, p. 90]
  8. The film persuades us to think long and hard about what prison means, and Lee has shaped it like a poem that builds into an epic lament, especially in a beautiful and tragic closing that risks absurdity to achieve the sublime.
  9. 88
    The film is unusual for not having a plot or a payoff.
  10. 88
    Norton, returning to cracking form, doesn't try to make the selfish and smug Monty sympathetic -- but he lights up the screen, especially in two fantasy sequences.
  11. 88
    It's deeply stylized, but there's an accompanying patience and gravity that are hard to shake. They're the architecture of a lingering, unsentimental sadness.
  12. Lee, as he did in ''Malcolm X'' and ''Clockers,'' makes his hero's dread palpable, and though 25th Hour lacks the glittering brilliance of those films, I was held by the toughness and pity of Lee's gaze.
  13. 80
    Lee has created that rarity in filmmaking: a movie we need, right now.
  14. Isn't Lee's most personal piece, but it may very well be his most mature.
  15. 75
    In a multiplex filled with empty New Year vessels (take that, Kangaroo Jack), this holdover grabs you hard.
  16. 75
    Lee delivers a beautiful evocation of the American Dream in its simplest, purest form.
  17. It could have been more taut, could have been harder, but 25th Hour still resonates with power and poetry.
  18. 75
    Moves slowly -- it's an unhurried, talky affair that consists primarily of members of the small group of characters interacting.
  19. Too bad there's also a final 15 minutes that surely ranks among the worst endings an otherwise good movie has ever received.
  20. If 25th Hour does not quite work as a plausible and coherent story, it produces a wrenching, dazzling succession of moods.
  21. Edward Norton makes an art of self-containment. No contemporary actor gives less away to more effect, and he's at his closely held best in 25th Hour, a drama of redemption, directed by Spike Lee, that seldom rises to the level of his performance.
  22. 67
    An engaging if not riveting film based on David Benioff's adaptation of his own novel. It's not nearly Lee's best picture, and it's guilty of a few wrong turns that only a confident filmmaker could make, but it's assured and, perhaps more importantly, reassuring.
  23. Lee doesn't seem to have the slightest sympathy for his hero, no particular point is made, and the whole exercise seems cold and empty.
  24. 63
    Norton is brilliant in Lee's so-so 'Hour.'
  25. Reviewed by: Angel Cohn
    60
    While Edward Norton convincingly portrays both the good and bad side of his conflicted man, a great deal of the insight into his character comes from the strong supporting cast.
  26. Reviewed by: Jeff Stark
    60
    Of course Spike Lee has the right to transcend movies about race. He also has the talent to do better than this plodding moral fable.
  27. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    60
    Lapses into melodramatic self-importance and gratuitous stylistic flourishes that take the audience out of the action -- are outweighed by the steadily amplified emotional power of this ultimately moving drama.
  28. To say Spike Lee is repeating himself is itself repetitious -- he is getting B-O-R-I-N-G!
  29. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    50
    Hour not only acknowledges the attacks -- they're a running theme. Lee opens his movie with a shot of the beaming blue spotlights that mark where the twin towers once stood.
  30. This is romanticism of a rather low order.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 116 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 47
  2. Negative: 8 out of 47
  1. Apr 28, 2013
    8
    This certainly isn't a movie that I would want to watch together with friends. Instead of trying to grab your attention with visual-heavy scenes, this movie mainly consists of conversations. It's about a realistic scenario and how the people affected by it are dealing with it. And I really like the movie for that. It's different from what I usually watch.
    The conversations are also very realistic. There are some scenes that were kind of unnecessary but still blew me away by how these characters talked to each other. A lot of times I thought to my self: "Yea, I could see my self taking part of that conversation." Although the drug mobster is kind of overblown.
    I can see why people find this movie boring. It's not for everyone. If you're the type of guy that can sit down for 2 hours and listen to people talk to each other about what they think will happen to them and what they're afraid of instead of them taking part in action scenes, then give this movie a shot. I certainly really enjoyed it.
    Full Review »
  2. May 13, 2012
    2
    Ed Norton was completely believable. However, the script was so incredibly sad. I don't want to watch a film about utter hopelessness. Fine for people who love tragedies. If you want to walk away not feeling suicidal, don't bother. Full Review »
  3. Feb 25, 2012
    1
    weird movie, about some criminal guy and his friends. Just another stupid movie that involves criminals going to jail and **** like that. I am not interested in this LOW LIFE **** Full Review »