The filmed adaptation from David Benioff's novel of the same name. Set in New York, a convicted drug dealer named Monty has one day left of freedom before he is sent to prison. Anger, blame, frustration, betrayal, guilt and loneliness are themes on this last day of friends, family, parties, saying goodbye, and setting things straight. A Spike Lee joint.
|Release Date||:||December 16, 2002|
|Production Company||:||40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, Touchstone Pictures|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||Spike Lee, Shari L. Carpenter|
|Writers||:||David Benioff, David Benioff|
|Casts||:||Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Tony Siragusa, Levan Uchaneishvili, Misha Kuznetsov, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Michael Genet, Patrice O'Neal, Al Palagonia, Aaron Stanford, Dania Ramirez, Larissa Drekonja, Michole Briana White|
|Plot Keywords||:||prison, prisoner, dream, drug dealer, nightclub, american dream, male friendship, melancholy, girlfriend, friendship, aftercreditsstinger|
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs
Spike Lee is a truly revolutionary director in terms of the presentation of his films and the motivations behind his stories.Though the genre and content of their stories differ fairly enormously,he is in fact a lot like a latter day Alfred Hitchcock in terms of how he presents his films,like the characters involved and the inspiration behind the premise.
The premise here is a deeply original,inspiring and intriguing one,concerning Marty (Edward Norton) a drug dealer who is about to go to prison for seven years.The film follows him around on his last day of freedom,and,rather than waste too much time on a hindering,unnecessary sub-plot concerning his attempts to find the person who ratted him out,wisely opts to be an engaging character study of a man who,though able to acknowledge he knew full well what he was doing and the criminal life he was getting himself involved in,is still able to question the possible circumstances and immoralities that may have helped his descent into crime.
The two main people who help organise his last free night are his childhood buddies Frank (Barry Pepper) a sleazy stockbroker who plays with people's investments and Jakob (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) a repressed drama teacher,who,throughout the course of the film,gives in to a lustful temptation toward a feisty student of his named Mary (Anna Paquin).Though Marty is the one facing the lengthy jail sentence,the moral dilemma the film constantly raises is whether he is actually any more of a criminal than his two best mates,who are really as equally manipulative and sly as he is.The film brilliantly contrieves to present these characters to the audience,and have them develop their own opinion on what their fates should be.
The driving point of the film however,is condemnation.At the beginning,we see Marty reveal his sensitive side to the audience by rescuing a stray dog who appears to have been discarded by it's owner who,though vicious and nasty toward him,he still finds it in his heart to adopt and love,despite the protestations of his large friend.But then the opening credits ensue,and it's a dark,droning opening theme and that prsents the tone of the movie.Then,straight afterwards,we're shown Marty's not-so-sensitive side,as he trys to brush off a man he turned into a drug addict.Lee intelligently and absorbingly weighs out Marty's good points and bad points,and shows that,despite dealing in a criminal profession,he's not all bad and can be quite nice at times.Yet we're also shown a man who wasted all his potential.If he'd tried a little harder,he could've been a doctor or a chef,his father (Brian Cox) points out to him.We also see that he was once a very gifted basketball player,and could possibly have pursued that further,but alas,didn't.He also tries to blame everyone and everything else for his current predicament,until finally accepting that he was in control of his own destiny and must now pay the price.At the end,he is given the choice:accept he did wrong,pay his debt and go and serve his time in jail,or turn and run.The decision he makes will determine the audience's final impression of him.
It does drag a little towards the end,but generally speaking,Spike Lee is a master of his craft and this is a strong contender for the first great film of 2003.****