"Wherever you run into it, prejudice always obscures the truth." Who would have thought that a movie which almost entirely takes place in one room, consists of 12 men who do nothing but talk -- and who don't even have names -- would be such a charming experience? The 12 Angry Men are a jury, a body of peers chosen to decide the guilt or innocence of a teenager. They have heard the arguments of the district attorney and the defense lawyer. They have received instructions from the presiding judge. Now they are on their own. What will they do? 12 Angry Men is a classic, a film that is as inspiring as it is well-crafted behind the scenes.
12 Angry Men is a cinematic proof that justice and mercy can be found within the system.
PlotThe case involves murder. The defendant is an undisclosed minority from the slums, a 18-yr old man accused of killing his father. 12 jurors are asked to decide the fate of this young man. The evidence is overwhelmingly against him. Two eyewitnesses, a murder weapon known to be bought by the killer, and an alibi that he couldn't remember during questioning.
Open and shut, but one juror stands alone against the other 11, who'd like to get home in time for dinner. And with that single 'not guilty' vote, Henry Fonda's Juror #8 sets off this wonderful cinematic experience.
Analysis12 Angry Men is based on the television play by Mr. Reginald Rose. Rose's script is a tense, structured drama, which is organized around the legal system and its crucial role in supporting social justice and conquering the worst human tendencies.
Juror #8(Henry Fonda, who also co-produced the film with Rose), is at first the only holdout on the jury. All the other members are sure that the defendant is guilty and are ready to vote within minutes of assembling in the jury room. Fonda’s character doesn’t think the defendant is not guilty, but he isn’t sure that he is guilty either; regardless, he is adamant that the case merits additional discussion. Of everyone in the room, he seems to be the most acutely aware of the significance of their task, while the others are either comfortable with their assurance of guilt or are simply anxious to finish the job and go home to their lives.
The suspense comes in waiting for each juror to turn, and Rose's script does an efficient job of painting a portrait of each man that gives us an insight into their motivations. He is aided and abetted by an impressive cast. The debut director Sidney Lumet had quite a task with an unusual project as well as an unusually low budget. But, he met every challenge, bringing a precise eye to the set. Boris Kaufman's camera creates a feeling of jury room claustrophobia with numerous and varied close-ups that add to the psychological aspects. For such a small set, the camera work is dynamic.
Few films have ever telegraphed their endings so clearly and incessantly; from the early moment when Henry Fonda persuades his first fellow juror to vote note guilty there isn't a doubt in the world about the eventual verdict. Yet despite the certainty of its resolution, "12 Angry Men" is a taut realistic thriller. "12 Angry Men" largely missed with audiences despite Henry Fonda's star power, but it was a hit with critics at the time and has more than held up to the test of time.
12 Angry Men offers a hopeful look at the American justice system. When one part of the system fails, another part fills in. This is not, of course, always the case, but 12 Angry Men still impresses as a compellingly realized depiction of how noble-mindedness and dedication can ultimately outdo narrow-mindedness and prejudice.
12 Angry Men - Imdb