12 ANGRY MEN || 1957, USA || Drama || Directed by – Sidney Lumet / Written by – Reginald Rose / Produced by – Henry Fonda, George Justin, Reginald Rose / Music by – Kenyon Hopkins / Cinematography – Boris Kaufman / Editing by – Carl Lerner / Art Direction – Bob Markell / Starring – Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam / Running time: 96 mins.
12 Angry Men quickly became a critical success and influential feature shortly after its release. The story is famously that of a jury who must deliberate the innocence or guilt of a young man charged with the murder of his father. Having to reach a unanimous verdict, the tension reaches peak levels shortly after one of the titular twelve men stands firmly planted on his belief that the boy should be acquitted due to reasonable doubt.
Rarely ever has a question of morality and justice felt so legitimately honest. This film is as much a dense and intense examination of such themes that unravels with great suspense, so much so as to almost qualify it as much a drama as a thriller. Furthermore, Sidney Lumet who directed the film, remarkably shot it all in one set, with a total time of action taking place outside it not even passing the four minute mark.
This enhances the power of the script by Reginal Rose, who also co-produced the film, which is in turn enhanced by masterful performances by an excellent cast headed by Henry Fonda, here acting as an unpopular voice of reason, voice of conscience, voice of doubt.
There isn’t a dead moment in the film, and all the arguments are solid and magnetic. In many ways, we the viewers become entrances in the atmosphere of the film, engulfed in 12 Angry Men‘s theatrical immediacy – so much so that we almost become active players within it. – 5/5