25th Hour Movie Analysis

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25th Hour, directed by Spike Lee, presents men partially in a typical way. The typical representation of men in Hollywood film defines them as being aggressive and powerful. They are expected to bear pain silently, suppress their emotions easily, and dominate their women. Also, typical males usually don’t pay any attention to their sicknesses and try to prove their masculinity to others. However, the movie includes a hegemonic negotiation of emotional outbursts over the traditional image of masculinity. Therefore, the main character, Monty, is a famous and respected drug dealer who spends his last day of freedom. He is presented as being powerful throughout the movie because he was living the American dream, driving an expensive car, owning a fancy apartment, having a beautiful, exotic girlfriend and hanging out in luxurious clubs. Although he is independent, being a provider for Naturelle and living an expensive life, he depends on drugs to maintain his power. Monty’s apartment has hardwood floors and tall windows facing the brownstones across the street. There are some black-and-white photographs, lining the walls, and the largest photo, hanging above the sofa, represents Brogan's Bar; the design of Monty’s apartment shows his power and wealth that came from drugs. Monty’s costuming and appearance illustrate his classy personality. His black and shiny shoes, sober and dark clothes, stylish and well-groomed hair reflect his past glamorous and wealthy life. Although Monty is going to prison in 24 hours, he suppresses all his emotions and sufferings. He walks slowly with Doyle, his dog, and reflects quietly on his life. The length of these shots is around fifteen seconds and shows his masculine insensitivity for the last day of his freedom. When he goes to the Coventry Preparatory School, he looks at his team picture smiling at his past happy memories. Monty goes to talk to Jacob about a change of plans as nothing has happened; he is very calm and doesn’t show any emotion. He even notices Mary saying that she looks cute. Monty tries to pretend that everything is fine, being indifferent and not affected by his imprisonment. Also when Naturelle asks him to talk to her, he answers as if there is nothing to talk about. Montgomery tries to show that he is emotionally powerful to overcome his fear of going to prison. Moreover, when Frank beats Monty, the latter ignores his pain and doesn’t even want to go to the doctor. He is getting prepared mentally and suffers in silence, as he would have to endure prison pain without complaint. Additionally, the traditional male expects to control females, and Montgomery dominates Naturelle throughout the movie. For example, when Montgomery comes home and they walk on the stairs he walks first and Naturelle follows him. He is in a dominant position and the woman just follows and listens to his concerns. Throughout Naturelle and Monty’s conversation Monty is shown in low camera angles, which present his power and control over his girlfriend. On the other hand, Monty shows indifference to people but inside he is furious and terrified. The hegemonic negotiation of traditional masculinity is presented because Monty also shows some emotional breakdowns showing his weakness and powerlessness. This is a more modern representation of masculinity similar to 1950s American films. There are several film form elements that present men as being weak. Monty doesn’t emulate his father but he follows his masculine instinct. The music emphasizes the hidden emotions and feelings of Monty and of other characters affected by his imprisonment. The music provides a very powerful perception of anger, fury, regret, and sorrow. It is in perfect equilibrium to Monty’s inner feelings. For example, from the opening scene the music played represents tension and sorrow and although the tempo changes constantly it is still in relation to Monty’s reactions and emotions of his last day of freedom. After the opening...
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