Our film begins right at the end of a court hearing where a young teenage boy is being trialled for murder. It’s now up to the jury of 12 Men to go into a secure room and reach a final verdict. The men are not allowed to leave the room until a final decision is agreed upon by all 12. As the 12 men enter the room, it’s obvious the men are keen to vote and get out ASAP. This day is also one of the hottest days the city has seen, and the room struggles to deliver fresh air. Our jury take a vote of 11/12, 11 saying the teenager is guilty and deserving of the electric chair. One man is not convinced.
For those who are not aware, other than at the very start and very end of this film, the entire movie is located in one room with a cast of 12 male actors. 12 Angry Men is based on a well-known stage play and naturally is dialogue-heavy, which brings me to my 1st points of praise, the dialogue!
The film’s script is so good! The dialogue is incredibly snappy and fast-paced. Considering the majority of this film is in the one room with only 12 actors, I never felt bored with the discussion amongst our characters. In some way, I felt this was an exciting tale as I too questioned if the young teenager on trial did the crime or not. The fact the men are in a hurry and struggling with the heat only raises the tension and frustration as the film progresses.
Without spoiling too much, I am incredibly positive about the way 12 Angry Men was filmed and shot frame by frame. The director slowly builds up the tension with the styling of filming. This includes many shots that are somewhat close up and even the camera angles all add emotion (or at least it did for me!).
In regards to characters, I loved how each character is extremely different to one another, and they all appear to come from different professions and carry different interests in hobbies too.
Overall, this is a film without zero complaints me. It’s a classic that I strongly recommend to any movie lover as it’s truly perfect. With an excellent unfolding mystery and great dialogue, 12 Angry Men belongs in a time capsule and should be saved and stored forever.
12 Angry Men (1957) – Movie Review Podcast is now available!
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Review Written by Peter Walkden