I saw 25th Hour, starring Edward Norton, last week, and I sooooo enjoyed it. I'm beginning to like Edward Norton alot. I think he's a great actor, but more than that, he seems to pick really interesting projects. (That said, I have zero desire to see him as The Incredible Hulk. Part of the reason I like him is that he's steered clear of such roles. Plus, I don't think I could buy him as a comic book character.)
In this movie, Norton plays Montgomery, a drug dealer who gets pinched by the DEA. The movie catalogues his final day of freedom before he goes to jail for 7 years on drug charges. He re-visits his old school, has dinner with his father (a wonderful turn by Brian Cox), and goes out one last time with his two best friends (played beautifully by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper) and his girlfriend (Rosario Dawson).
It seems ordinary enough, but every interaction is imbued with meaning because all involved realize what's on the other side of the evening - 7 long, horrible years in prison. Norton is marvelous in this. There is also an achingly quiet scene between Pepper and Hoffman, overlooking the hole that was Ground Zero, that I will remember for a long time.
The only complaint I have is an early scene, played between Norton and his reflection in the mirror, that I thought was too preachy and overwrought. The script circled back around to it later in the film, which redeemed the sequence somewhat, but mostly I felt that this could have been cut without detriment to the story.
Warning - there's alot of language here. But for a movie about a drug dealer, I can understand it. Watch this movie for the performances.