Monday 30 June 2008

12 Angry Men [1957]

Some of the finest movie directors have had sterling film debuts – Satyajit Ray, Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut and Orson Welles are excellent cases in point. Sydney Lumet too entered this exclusive pantheon with 12 Angry Men, a terrific deglamourized court room story and human drama. The movie concerns the debate between twelve average New Yorkers – jurors in this case – who have been entrusted by the court to provide their verdict regarding an alleged murder committed by a young Puerto Rican boy. Principally a dialogue-driven movie, 12 Angry Men peeps into the mores, psyches and lines of thought of the jury members as they argue, and argue some more, to ascertain the guilt or lack thereof of the boy. The jurors are angry not because they are hostile or irascible fellows; rather because apart from one of the members (Henry Fonda) everyone else has a reason to put the boy to the gallows – for reasons ranging from personal redemption to social prejudice, from overdependence on cold logic to severe apathy, from one-upmanship to a desire to get over with the arduous process with minimum involvement. The mindsets of the jurors and their conflicts have been made more stark and uncomfortable by the claustrophobic atmosphere and torrid weather. Great method acting, water-tight script and taut in-you-face direction have made this Lumet feature a memorable and thought-provoking classic.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Genre: Drama/Courtroom Drama/Psychological Drama
Language: English
Country: US


Shawn William Clarke said...

Lumet is one of my favorite directors, it's a testament to his craft that films like 12 Angry Men (and Fail Safe) hold up.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks for your views Shawn. I completely agree with you. Lumet was indeed a fantastic director, and 12 Angry Men an awesome movie.

alpez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
alpez said...

i totally agree...fine fine movie...but i havnt seen other films by the same director...suggest a few??
btw, have u seen anatomy of a murder & witness of a persecution?
how come no vertigo in ur top 100??

Shubhajit said...

I have seen just two other movies by Lumet. Dog Day Afternoon was good. But his last movie Before the Devil Knows You're Dead was superb.

I have seen Vertigo. But I didn't like it as much as the other movies in my Top 100. That reminds me - I need to update the list to include a couple of great movies I've seen since.