Posted on 7/30/13 01:18 PM
Phenomenal movie. Brilliant movie. Smart movie. Perfect movie. None of these adjectives can describe how amazing this movie is. Not even amazing. My first experience of this marvelous story was when a couple of years ago when I saw the 1997 TV Movie 12 Angry Men. I remember clearly sitting in my uncle's living room and watching this film. At first, I thought it was a bore. Later, it became more interesting and engulfing, and as I watched, I began to realize how good it was. The characters stuck out, the writing stuck out, the acting stuck out, the plot stuck out, and most importantly, the moral stuck out. The idea that a man, no matter what race, no matter what area he is from, and no matter who he is, should get a fair, just trial. Even if it's not in a court. The twelve men in this film conduct a trial by themselves, using logical reasoning instead of fact and evidence to determine a man's guilt. The film tosses everything out of the room that might undermine the man's fair, legal treatment: racism, class, wealth, his background, his past.... They put up the things that would matter in real life, outside the courtroom and the judge's grasp. Who the man is, why he would kill, his reactions, and most importantly his emotions. This is what determines a man and if he would kill, not his life. It's the possibility that people look at, the present and as how to prove this man was innocent, instead of proving his guilt. This film fixes the cracks in the system and pulls out whatever fell under those cracks. It's more than a movie about twelve men solving their own crime like some people say. It's about doing what's right and looking at all the possibilities, not just the facts. One of the smartest films I've ever seen and the best court drama of all time. Even if it's not based in the court.
12 Angry Men is a 1957 drama film starring Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, John Fielder, and much much more. It's about twelve jurors and their process in deciding on whether a kid is guilty or not. The acting is fantastic in this film, just excellent. Henry Fonda gives a great performance Juror #8, the leading protagonist in this film. I wouldn't want to say though protagonist, for they are all normal people, neither good or bad, just expressing their opinions or thoughts. In real life you could be a rapist, a murderer, a terrible person, a rich person, a monk, a prophet, but when you are a juror, the only the thing that matters is your thoughts and what call you make. We barely get to know about these guys emotions and feelings, but when we do know, it's big and can change the entire verdict for themselves and for the jury. These men throw themselves out in this room, and we get a feel for them all. They are all relatable in some way, and everyone can point to one person in the film and say "I am that man." They all come from different backgrounds, all from different classes and wealth, and yet we know all these people and know that they have to make one big decision for a man's life. We never know any of their names until the end, which I wish they should've kept a mystery. Still, most the movie you'll be thinking that you could be one of these with a different name. This is the best ensemble of characters ever in film. And the acting all around is real good, Oscar worthy stuff. I just wish they had more Oscar like moments and not simple dialogue (but also smart) to say.
The screenplay is superb in this film. The plot seems so simple, a couple of jurors deciding the verdict of a single man, but it's not. It's more than that and it's proven throughout this film. It's about the life of a man and how twelve men decide his faith. That's more than a jury movie. The film has so much to say about people, about the system, about death, that at first you might not see it, but it's there. The dialogue does it so subtly and keeps everything on track. It's the movie to think about, and anyone can watch it and understand. No court dialogue, just all simple observations that the twelve men make that can change the whole verdict around. The film is also written in real-time, meaning if the movie was two hours long, the events took exactly two hours long and we saw every second of it from beginning to end. Some of the smartest dialogue I have ever heard, ranging all the way from talk about movies to talk about putting a man on the electric chair. It's well-done, and nothing really out there like this movie. The simplest plot ever made into something more than grand.
Sidney Lumet does some great directing work. He works with real-time so well. In the beginning of the film, the characters just want to start the progress of deciding the man's fate. They are frustrated, and you can feel it too. The anger, disappointment, and sadness comes out from the screen at you. The whole tone of the movie is simple, but when the characters feel stuff is getting complicated, Lumet makes it so you do as well. The whole time it feels as if the jurors are talking to you and want you to decide whether the accused is guilty or not. It's your decision, and Lumet makes it feel like you have to decide it along with these men in this courtroom. You never leave the juror room as well the second you are in there, giving you the feel you are trapped in this room along with everyone else. It's just perfect direction for a film like this.
In the end, there is nothing out there like 12 Angry Men. Nothing at all. From the moment I saw the 1997 film to today I felt like this is one of the strongest films to say something about the world we live in today. It's a world where we decide a man's fate, and most people are selfish to take the time to care and think. It took these men 96 minutes to fully decide whether they wanted a man to live or not, and it shows that's just not a big deal. It feels like it is, but if you look at the time and look at everything that happened, it shouldn't be. A man's life is important, so don't complain and try to the best to decide if it's stays on Earth. Not many of us will have to decide a man's life, but many of us will get big decisions that honestly take time to think about. And we should. 12 Angry Men is one of the best films of the fifties. I wish it had more Oscar like acting for the actors to do and wish they never revealed some of the jurors names to keep that feel of "I can be like him." But other than that, this film was great and deserves all the recognition it gets. One of my favorites of all time. 9/10.
And please, if you are interested in hearing my thoughts or listening me talk more about this film, check out my podcast! The Hostile Monkey Movies Podcast is every Sunday, so listen to the previous ones and check out this weeks for my thoughts on this film, Pacific Rim, Pan's Labrynth, and much more! Listen right here: http://hostilemonkeymovies.podomatic.com
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