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12 Angry Men

Directed by Sidney Lumet

Year Of Release

Sidney Lumet

Reginald Rose

Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, John Fieldler, Lee J. Cobb, E.G.Marshall, Jack Kluman, Edward Burns, Jack Warden, Robert Webber, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec

I'd been meaning to watch 12 Angry Men for a very long time but never got around to it till now. It's one of those films you always see on 'the best films ever made' lists. Now, the word masterpiece gets thrown around a lot these days and most of the time it's not justified, but in the case of 12 Angry Men, it is, very justified. I can say that without a doubt it's one the greatest films I've ever seen. It's perfect in every creative aspect: script, direction, performances, and setting.

The 12 Men lock horns in a sweltering jury room to decide the fate of a young man accused of murdering his father. Henry Fonda plays the knight in shining armor, trying to convince the jury of the boys innocents. The film is ultimately a character study of different personalties from different walks of life - and, whilst locked up in the sweltering jury room, the tension between the characters becomes immense. They argue for hours, during which time they exchange opinion, racial bigotry, class stereotypes, bias and insults. The last half hour is edge of your seat stuff, as slowly but surely the jurors change their verdicts to not guilty.

The performances were amazing, and I especially liked Jack Klugman. The most powerful and moving parts of the film were the face-offs between the characters, which were brilliantly filmed: the camera zooms right in on them both as they speak their pieces, which created bucket loads of tension. The film is an emotional roller coaster for the audience, and for a film only 90 minutes long set almost entirely in a single room, that is quite a feat. I suppose the message behind the film is that no matter what your background or age, there is something that transcends those differences: the search for truth.