25th hour (spike lee, 2002)
the first time i saw 25th hour, i liked a lot of parts of it very much. i even thought i loved the movie, based on the strength of those parts. but i didn't quite get it. i didn't know how psh's crush on his student fit with 9/11 fit with ed norton possibly going to prison fit with barry pepper as a douchey wall street guy. it didn't matter to me too much, though i did feel that the psh subplot was a bit extraneous and perhaps the movie would be better without it.
i no longer feel that way (regardless of how much i hate looking at psh's face). the way things are connected feels so palpable, i'm amazed i missed it before. the movie, despite its surface level commentary about the injustices of the prison system, seems to me to be even more about the struggle of moving on, of looking at who you are and where you are and accepting that. the interactions between the three main characters have a kind of beautiful cadence, at once familiar and yet also awkward. the dialogues that happen between friends who were once so close, yet hardly see each other anymore. growing apart but refusing to let nature take its course, to actually drive them away. i can see the sadness in this problem, even if, to be honest, i seem to have the opposite one -- i let people go too easily, am broken away and they disappear into the catacombs of memory. sometimes i wonder what they're up to, and briefly think of trying to contact them, but i never do.
i think some of that is what the 25th hour is also about, the feeling that prison disonnects you completely from the world, and the fear that everyone you care about will have abandoned you by the time you get back.
a movie about time, then. the past, and how we cling to it, how we wallow in it even when it would be better to leave, and a movie about the future. the melancholy of fantasies that can never happen. the difficulty of accepting right now, of being here and looking yourself in the face.
watching this movie sped along a depression that had been creeping around for days, or maybe weeks or years or centuries. but it sticks in my memory, even as it hurts me to think about it. like noriko's dinner table, this is a movie i couldn't stop thinking about even when i wanted to.