The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors' prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other.
Master piece. Fantastic script and evolution of the characters.
Unlikely, but it is possible. 12 Angry Men is directed by Sidney Lumet and adapted from a teleplay of the same name by Reginald Rose. The cast is headed by Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb. The film tells the story of a jury made up of 12 men as they deliberate the guilt or innocence of a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt. Except for two short scenes at the beginning and end of the film, it's filmed entirely on one set, that of the jury deliberation room. Sweaty, gritty, claustrophobic - all words that sit snugly in the context of Lumet's excellently crafted deconstruction of 12 men trying to arrive at one verdict in the case of a Puerto Rican youth on trial for the murder of his father. The evidence appears overwhelming, there's witnesses, a murder weapon and motive, the boy is surely on his way to the electric chair. 11 of the men are convinced he's guilty, only one man stands alone, Henry Fonda's juror number 8, who refuses to turn in a vote of guilty until the evidence and facts are discussed at length. As the others rail against him and tempers get frayed, juror number 8 prompts the others to examine their own prejudices and commitment to justice. A lesson in tight direction and editing, and with performances to match, 12 Angry Men is quite simply not to be missed by those seeking to venture into classic cinema. 9/10