This entire movie was Edward Norton's. Spike Lee may have directed it, David Benioff may have written both the screenplay and the book, but Edward Norton owned this film. Even opposite no less than Phillip Seymour Hoffman, one of this generation's finest actors, Norton still manages to come off as an outstanding lead. His "fuck" monologue was particularly memorable, a deep sense of catharsis will flood you each time you watch it, of that I have no doubt.
Other than this, the direction, plot, themes, writing and, perhaps most importantly, the characters are all superb. A top notch film from top to bottom. I wouldn't even know where to begin explaining its impact on me.
I unflinchingly can call this the best movie of the '00s that I've seen, and readily recommend this to realistically anybody.