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 imdb.com 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.