Director: Spike Lee
Leading Actors: Edward Norton, Rosario Dawson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper
NYC Neighborhoods Featured: Tribeca, Battery Park, Harlem, Upper East Side

25th Hour should and has received ample props for addressing the eerie years in New York following the attacks on the World Trade Center. The film succeeds when it digs into the frustration and insecurity of those times. There's no better example of this than the scene where Barry Pepper's character, who lives in a pricey loft that overlooks the wreckage, becomes irate over the aftermath, the conflicting reports of air pollution and recovery. Later Edward Norton's character breaks down into a racist tirade against every group of New Yorkers he can think of; in Lee's hands, all of this vitriol still scans as a love letter. —GT

"Gritty Realism"