definitely the first moment where he starts to acknowledge any of his own resrmnsibility.‘

l.ce adds: ‘\\'hat Monty's really doing is preparing to leave it all. So we decided to make it explicit; when he leaves he lets trs know what he loves the most. It was almost like a love poem to the city.’

.-\nd Ice is one of the few big name NY directors with enough grip on reality to construct such a love poem with sincerity. The other most-likely candidates are indisposed: Martin Scorsese with his head stuck in the city‘s past and Woody Allen content never to stray away from his quaint retro set pieces.

Lee. like Allen and Scorsese. embraces the flaws. the ftrnk and the fantastic of New York. But by ditching schmaltz. he‘s constructed a terse if poignant movie abotrt loss. regret and trust. things put to the test in his city over the last 24 months. His opening credits sequence captures the scale of the monument of lights erected at (iround Zero. taking Allen's own lavish celebration of the Manhattan skyline to a different level: a city of wonderment. but a city with scars. Norton. however. is keen

not to overstate the political inferences of

the film.

'There's an emotional context to it that has nothing to do with politics.‘ he says. ‘lt's something that happened and it's part of the fabric of that city now. It seemed

14 THE LIST At" 531.2.

Top: Norton and Lee on the set of 25th Hour; left: Norton in American History X; right: Lee on the set of He Got Game

insane to make a story without it. but that same summer we were filming they made Maid in Manhattan. Now you're not going to point the camera at (iround Ycro in that. but we were making a film about the consequences of choices and taking things for granted. To not allow that new emotional reality into the background seemed like an insane kind of denial. I think you can address an emotional reality without making a political comment.‘

The timing for this movie could not be more apposite. While we ponder morality on a global scale. 251/1 Hour does the same on a microcosmic scale: Monty's guilt over not quitting the drug game soon enough. the gtrilt his friends feel at their stasis when it came to steering Monty away from the drtrg life.

It‘s fitting then. that these two men. after traversing such different paths »- one the toast of the Academy. the other a maverick flourishing in the shadows should meet on such a project. Two uncompromising men. working in an uncompromising city to produce something startling. even bleak at times. but uncompromisinglv excellent.

25th Hour goes on general released from Fri 25 Apr. See review page 26.


New York doesn‘t have to mean Spike. Woody or Marty. Here are some of the city's other celluloid classics. King Kong 1 .. .. :_ t"

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New York moment: Skatehoards heeorne weapons in \I'.’ashrnqton Struare Parr.

The Daytrippers to t: caper r'to‘ae mt". Stan'e', lute. Suspicion of his rnfrdetrt; leads to the entire i;t."t:l',' seurmnq around the streets of Manhattan "i search of our, hrs supposed mistress and each other. New York moment: These l our; island folks can't make head or tail of hit) crt‘, qeoqraphya

Shaft The black t,t'r.'a'.e (trek who", a hrt with all the ci‘reks r" tne hard boiled hlaxsplortatron standard. Real', a budget James Bond Dirt; Harr,’ firth funnrer dialog; and funker threads.

New York moment: The opening credit sequence WlTl‘r org baaaaad John Shaft strutting across

in front of traffic rt‘. ‘i'rrnes Square. girlllg the frrqer ti, ranking honk, C6!l)l)l88.

Dinner Rush Just moire-r exerting rr‘ New “ft/V", lli{)l)‘:f)l fairar‘. eatery: demanding custo'nem. COrrrpulgwer; gambling

sous chefs. mob take/Men. and


perfect pasta. TN; diners tram/1e a

polrce detectwe and ma! bookmaker gangsters mth designs 0n the restaurarrt. New York moment: A real aetre seouence as chef Eduardo lO‘.'rngl‘, copstructs a towering 'ooster and rrngurr‘f; dish to arouse the snooty taste buds of food CHTIC Sandra Bernhard.