Wednesday, January 5, 2011

12 Angry Men

Directed by Sidney Lumet.
1957. Not Rated, 96 minutes.
Henry Fonda
Lee J. Cobb
E.G. Fiedler
Ed Begley
Joseph Sweeney
Jack Klugman
6 other angry men

Plot: The 12 jurors of a first-degree murder trial deliberate the case.

The Good: Acting.This is a movie that's all about the actors. Without strong performances it would fall apart. Thankfully, this movie gets a good performance out all 12 guys. The writing is also exceptional as it has to be to carry such a claustrophobic movie. All but a couple minutes at the beginning & the very end take place in the deliberation room or adjoining restroom. The characters don't so much develop as they do reveal themselves. It becomes a very effective tool saving its most powerful moment for last. Director Sidney Lumet's pacing is also remarkable. Even though the scenery never changes and there are no action scenes to speed things along, the movie moves along rather quickly without rushing itself. His best trick however may be that for the most part he stays out of his actors' way.

The Bad: A couple of the guys really don't do much. Not really a detractor because it's awfully tough to write major parts for 12 different characters without making the movie excruciatingly long.

The Ugly: When the jurors all turn their back, quite literally, on one of the jurors spouting off his prejudices. Ugly in such a good way.

Recommendation: If you're a fan of courtroom dramas, this is an absolute must-see. If you just want to see a movie with some great acting and writing this is also for you. Skip it if you're under the distinct impression that every movie has to have either an explosion &/or love story

MY SCORE: 10/10

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