Year of Release: 2002
Although nominated for Golden Globe and recipient of a lot of critical acclaim, I personally think the movie is a wee bit over-rated.
It’s about a guy called Monty (Edward Norton) who has been sentenced to 7 years in prison for drug peddling and his last 24 hours of freedom and what he does with that.
The opening scene shows Monty saving an injured dog (Doyle) who later becomes an inseparable part of his life. There are overtones of this first scene throughout the movie. Monty saves the dog and gives him another chance at life. Later in the movie Monty fondly recalls that saving the dog was the best thing he did in his life. In a way Doyle’s life symbolizes Monty’s.
During the last 24 hours he meets with all the people who matter in his life – his girlfriend Naturelle, his father who thinks he is to blame for his son’s life turning out the way it did and his 2 best friends; a teacher who is infatuated with one of his students & an investment banker who is overconfident, brash & a loud mouth.
The movie moves on showing how each person is grappling with their own issues in life; Monty predictably with his impending jail term & his suspicion on his girlfriend for outing him out to the cops, Philip with his own moral issues about being attracted to one of his students, Monty’s father with his guilt pangs etc.
Over the whole story Monty comes to realize how he himself is responsible for screwing up his life since he had everything going for him – a scholarship from a reputed private school, good looks, an amazing girlfriend and how he blew everything away.
The best two scenes for me in the movie have to be, one where Monty gives a F*** You speech in front of the bathroom mirror and two, where Monty begs Barry to beat and thrash him early in the morning so that he looks rugged enough for jail. Barry’s denial to do it, Monty’s instigation, everything has been beautifully portrayed.
The ending though profound & beautiful, is very open-ended and might confuse a lot of people.
The movie makes one wonder as to how many opportunities we get and turn away from them in lieu of other easy looking and exciting pursuits which turn out to be everything but that in the end. Maybe shortcuts to success aren’t really all that worth it in the end.
Edward Norton as always is brilliant. Definitely don’t watch if you’re looking for a cheerful movie.
- IMDB Rating – 7.9/10
- Edward Norton says the word “fuck” 40 times in about five minutes during his monologue in the bathroom. The phrase “Fuck you” is on the mirror in the bathroom.
- Tobey Maguire bought the rights to the original novel with the intent of starring. He later decided to do Spider-Man, although he did stay on this film as a producer.
- During his speech in the bathroom, Edward Norton says, “Slavery ended 137 years ago. Move the fuck on!” This is a reference to American History X, where he says, “Slavery ended like a hundred and thirty years ago, how long does it take to get your act together?”
- Edward Norton‘s character mentions about wanting to be the “girl in ‘X-Men’, the one that can walk through walls”. Co-stars Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Aaron Stanford and Dania Ramirez have all starred in the X-Men movies, as Rogue, General Stryker, Pyro, and Callisto respectively. The girl who can walk through walls is called Shadowcat.
- ‘Alicia Keys ‘ was considered for the role of Naturelle.
- Edward Norton says he took every penny he made from Red Dragon to finance this film.
- Monty’s line, “Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends,” is a Francis Bacon quote.