A Review Of 12 Angry Men


Movies are known for their larger than life quality. Then are those that thrill you with its subtle nuances and make one ponder and appreciate the film for its attention to detail and off beat story lines. 12 Angry Men is one such film. The film stands testimony to the fact it does not need extensive scenery, elaborate costumes or special effects- it solely relies on superlative acting.

The twelve angry men in the film are twelve jurors for a murder case. An eighteen-year-old boy from a slum background is accused of stabbing his father to death and faces the electric chair if convicted. Eleven of the men believe the boy is guilty- only one questions the premises on which the others have made their decision. The court case provides only a framework, the film’s brilliance lies in the bringing-together of twelve different men who have never met each other before and the interaction of their characters as each individual brings his own background and life experiences to the table. The characters are- a hesitant football coach, a shy uncertain bank clerk, an aggressive call company director,  an authoritative broker, a self-conscious slum dweller, a solid dependable painter, a selfish salesman, a calm collected architect, a thoughtful observant old man, an east European watchmaker and an advertising agent. The entire film takes place in one room, the jury room where the men have retired to consider their verdict. The audience finds themselves in the midst of the action as the heat amongst the jury members as they make their way towards the final verdict. The jurors are never named, which is a specific technique that the film maker users to highlight the characters traits.

Henry Fonda is a perfect fit for the character and is believable as the individual who brings home the importance of a jury’s duty to examine evidence thoroughly and without prejudice. Several of the stars from the film became household names. Joseph Sweeney is a delightful as the 9th juror- the quiet but shrewd old man who doesn’t miss a thing. E.G Marshall brings firmness and authority to the role of the 4th juror. Lee.J. Cobb delivers a stellar performance as the third juror- the hard, stubborn, aggressive, vindictive avenger who is reduced to breaking down when forced to confront the failure of his relationship with his own son.

The film is rated as a classic that shouldn’t be missed and it is well deserved of this honor.

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Keywords :
Classic , movie , law


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