12 Angry Men (Twelve Angry Men) Reviews
A masterclass of suspense, '12 Angry Men' is one of those rare movies that manages to sustain your attention with the bare basics. Set in pretty much one location for the entirety of its duration, this movie needs to somehow keep us interested for a whole 90 minutes. For that, you need great actors, a great script, and of course, a great director - and boy does '12 Angry Men' have it. Performance-wise, the movie is flawless. Everyone is fantastic, and although Henry Fonda is the most well-known of the bunch, he in no way overshadows the other performances. The script is, also, flawless. Not a line of dialogue is wasted, and everything serves a purpose. Gripping and thoroughly entertaining. The director is the wonderful Sidney Lumet. I am, regrettably and of my own fault, lacking knowledge on the majority of Lumet's filmography, but that is something I will definitely address. His direction is simple, but masterful. Most of the time, the camera is just there, observing. But at times of intensity, his presence becomes impossible to ignore, and he really elevates those scenes a great deal. As far as I can tell, this movie has no problems. It's never boring or dull, and I was thoroughly entertained for its entirety. An excellent classic, not to be missed.
There's not much more to say, you just have to see this.
Wonderful script, perfectly cast, intensely acted.
For a black and white movie set almost entirely in one room, I enjoyed the movie much more than I expected. Although the plot of the narrative is quite straightforward, the movie manages to create tension and suspense with the impactful and precisely scripted dialogues. Furthermore, the movie explores deep issues such as prejudice and justice system, creating a lasting impact on the audience.
A motif that surfaces in the film is how prejudice blinds people. In fact, the prejudice of the antagonists is so repugnantly portrayed that the audience would find themselves compelled to support the protagonist. The story begins with a short but crucial introduction of each character's personality. In their small talks before the deliberation of the case, juror no. 3's hidden bias towards adolescents is hinted in his lines: "I'd slap those tough kids down before they start any trouble." It is later revealed that his prejudice had stemmed from a tormenting relationship with his son, causing him to project a sadistic attitude towards the youthful defendant. Likewise, juror no. 10's eager to convict the defendant is explicitly fuelled by racism, seeing Spanish-Americans as "born liars" who cannot be trusted. Due to their prejudices, they were unable to make rational and objective judgements and closed their minds to any alternative interpretations of the case.
12 Angry Men runs parallel with To Kill a Mockingbird in several aspects. Both are black and white films, courtroom dramas and addresses the issues of racism. While 12 Angry Men is an interesting movie, I find To Kill a Mockingbird more poignant and having more depth in portraying racial discrimination.