Movie Review: 12 Angry Men (1957)

Yes, this was the first time that I had seen this classic. I know, shame on me for being a bit late to the game with it. Well, I say better late than never. So here we go.

Ladies and gents… “12 Angry Men”.

A young man has been accused of murdering his father. In a locked room we have the twelve jurors that have to determine whether the young man is guilty or not. Most of them are convinced he did it, but one juror (Henry Fonda, R.I.P) isn’t quite convinced. So we follow him as he tries to convince the other jurors of why this kid is innocent. So now we have our courtroom(ish) thriller. And I have to say that from the very first scene I was sucked into the plot. What we have here is a claustrophobic thriller, with men going back and forth for 90 minutes over the kid’s innocence/guilt, and it is riveting. There’s quite a lot of suspense built throughout the runtime, and it’s fairly unpredictable. Really, it’s a great plot.

The characters here are all quite interesting, especially as we get pretty clear looks at their respective personalities, and how they affect their thoughts on the case. I don’t have the time or energy to go into each and every one of them, but trust me when I say that we do get some really great character stuff here. And the performances here are all brilliant. Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Lee J. Cobb, John Fiedler, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Jack Warden, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec, and Robert Webber (R.I.P all of them), they’re all fantastic.

The score for the movie was composed by Kenyon Hopkins and what I found interesting about it is that it barely shows up in the movie. One bit at the beginning, one bit at the end… that’s it. But the limited use of music works, as it does bring out a lot of tension, and makes those two moments of music feel a bit more special. But the tracks that we do here in the movie are really good.

“12 Angry Men” was written by Reginald Rose (R.I.P) and directed by Sidney Lumet (R.I.P). And the two combined in this way is simply fantastic. On one hand, with this claustrophobic setting, you’d need Rose’s writing to be great to keep the viewer engaged as it has to do a lot of the heavy lifting. Lucky for us, his writing here is mesmerizing. Nothing about the writing feels dated, as some movies/scripts from the era could unfortunately feel… but Rose’s writing is great. And Lumet’s direction is of course fantastic. There’s a lot of movement here to make it feel exciting, almost like an action movie. And his direction here just adds so much tension to it all.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 96/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great movies” list. And on it has a score of 8,9/10 and is ranked #5 on the “Top 250” list. The movie was also nominated for three Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, and Best adapted screenplay. 

“12 Angry Men” is an absolute classic and deserves all the praise given to it. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, good use of music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “12 Angry Men” is a 9,88/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “12 Angry Men” is now completed.

Review is adjourned.

Movie Review: Hang ’em High (1968)


You guys already know that I love westerns, I have said it so much that it has almost wore thin. So let’s just start the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hang ’em High”.

In this movie we follow rancher Jed Cooper (Clint Eastwood) who one day when moving his cattle gets hung by a bunch of men. Problem is that they hung an innocent man, they also didn’t finish the job. So when he ís taken to a town, he once again becomes a lawman (Sidenote: I forgot to mention, this rancher is an ex-lawman). That’s right, he picks up the badge again to find the men who did him wrong and then bring them to justice. You know, so he can… hang ’em high (Roll Credits). It is really a simple revenge tale with a conspiracy-based twist which I will not spoil because I thought it was pretty good. What I didn’t enjoy that much was a romance sub-plot which arrived later in the movie. It felt shoehorned in and unnecessary. The plot overall was fine.

It’s Clint Eastwood in a western, of course he is good in the movie. Sure, he is not as good as in “The Outlaw Josey Wales”. But to be fair, that movie came out seven years after this one. But yeah… he was good. Every actor was in fact good and did good jobs as their characters. There’s really nothing more to it here.

The score for the movie was done by Dominic Frontiere and it was pretty good. While not as good as any of Ennio Morricone’s scores, this one still holds up. The tracks fit the movie and they all work to keep the desired mood for each scene.

Seeinf as this is a review for a western, it is time to give a warm welcome back to the segment “Gunfights”. So how were the gunfights in this movie? Limited. There weren’t that many. But those we got were good. They weren’t that intense, lengthy or badass as in a lot of other westerns, but for what they were they were good.

This movie was pretty well-directed. It was directed by Ted Post who I have never seen anything from. But he showed with this movie that he knows how to make a shot look good. Huh… I can’t think of anything else to say here in the “General Stuff” segment. That’s a bummer. Uhm… help.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on 7,0/10.

“Hang ’em High” is a western that is just good. It really is nothing special in either way. The story is fine (romance felt tacked on though), the performances were good, the score was good, the direction was good, the gunsights were good… it’s just good. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hang ’em High” is an 8,72/10. It is worth buying.
Worth buying

“Hang ’em High” is reviewed.

I am conflicted…