Monty Brogan's life passes before his eyes in his last day before his seven-year long gaol term. A day full of good and bad memories, reunion with old friends, reconsidering past decisions, and, above all, Monty's exploring who caused him to be the man he is. Whatever it is, all this was so close to never happening.
Monty Brogan (Edward Norton), a drug-dealer, has just 24 hours left of liberty before he has to report to prison to serve time. He spends the period farewelling those near to him – his girlfriend, Naturelle (Rosario Dawson), who, he fears, may have betrayed him; his father (Brian Cox), a widowed bar-owner; his best friends, Wall Street trader Frank (Barry Pepper) and school teacher Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman). There's also time to reflect on what brought Monty to this crossroads in his life.
This is much more than an average crime drama
David Benioff wrote the screenplay for this Spike Lee film, based on his own first novel which was written a few years ago, but Benioff and Lee have deliberately set it post-September 11; and it's as much about a city in shock as it is about a man facing an uncertain future, fearful of homosexual rape in prison. References to the day that changed the world are everywhere; Frank's apartment looks down on Ground Zero, and Monty's father's bar has what amounts to a shrine for firefighters who died that day. You'll have gathered that this is much more than an average crime drama. It's a very contemporary film which reflects on many aspects of life in America today. One of the most startling scenes is a monologue spoken by Edward Norton – who is excellent – in which he rails against just about every ethnic minority in the city, plus the terrorists, plus Osama Bin Laden, and finally turns on himself. It's a very powerful sequence in a very powerful film, perhaps Lee's best since Do The Right Thing.