Monday, January 25, 2016

12 Angry Men (1957)

A young kid with a court appointed attorney is tried for the murder of his father. When the jury retires, the jurors are certain of his guilt. Well, eleven of twelve are certain.

Shot almost entirely in one room, this is a character study of perspective, personality, and circumstance. Each of the unnamed jurors bring their own prejudices and they are revealed as Juror 8 forces them to examine the evidence piece by piece.

The cast features some fantastic character actors. E.G. Marshal, Lee J. Cobb, a young Jack Klugman, Jack Warden. No "superstars", excepting Fonda himself, who also produced. Ed Begley Jr's dad had a wonderful tirade trying to explain what "those" people were like and that's know he knows the boy is lying. He even goes on to say "Oh, sure, there are some good things about 'em, too!" putting it a border fence reference away from a Trump speech. Nice to see how far we've come in almost sixty years.

I've had jury duty three times, and sat on two juries. Even though one was a murder case, never did it approach the drama seen here. Never-the-less, 12 Angry Men rings true. Courtroom dramas (this not actually being one) are notoriously inauthentic. But here little things and big were handled true to life. Used to illustrate team dynamics in teamwork training, this character study is claustrophobic, intense, and authentic. It failed to turn a profit or win an Oscar, but it succeeded in excellence. AMRU 4.
"Baltimore? That's like being hit in the head with a crowbar once a day."

No comments:

Post a Comment