Again this is another non bookish post, however this is a movie review of a film that I couldn’t not talk about as it has had a tremendous effect on me and has reserved itself a place in my top films of all time. As the title suggests, this is the film 12 Angry Men. I can guarantee this film will be unlike any other you have watched!
This movie was released in 1957 by MGM, and follows 12 men in a overcrowded, warm room, being asked to make a decision as members of a jury as to whether a young man should be sentenced to death for murder. Other than briefly at the beginning and end, this film does not leave said room, and it shows 12 people from different backgrounds, of different temperaments and with different views coming together and trying to deliberate to reach a decision.
This film is so simplistic in its filming and in the fact that it takes place in a realistic scale of time, which adds to the impact. Without action, comedy, romance or a really intensive plot many would argue that a film like this could be uninteresting. However instead we see a film which focuses on words and dialogue above all else, a film which makes you really think about what is right and wrong, about evidence, about trusting your judgement and your gut instincts.
What I loved about this film is that without even learning the names of the members of the jury, we learn more about them as the story unfolds. While watching the men deliberate in attempt to make a joint decision, we see how personal experiences, personality and prejudice infiltrate their seemingly fair and democratic decisions.
“Prejudice always obscures the truth.”- Juror #8
The characters in this room and this movie are incredibly complex and different, and subtly we learn aspects of each one’s personality. There are bad guys and there are good guys, there are jokers and professionals. As tension builds and the verdict sways one way and another and the disagreements become more heated, the room seems to get smaller somehow and the film gets subtly more intense.
I just think this film was absolutely fantastic. It toys with certainty and doubt, standing up for what you believe and working harder and more tirelessly to come to a justified and honest result, prejudice versus sympathy, stubbornness versus placid. It really makes you think and it is just so contained and separate from anything I have ever watched before. I loved it. I don’t think I’ll ever see a movie like it again.
I wouldn’t recommend it to those of you who crave action and story arcs and such, however if you like films that encourage you to analyse and to think and to question then this is for you. If you like films that are dialogue heavy and relatively still, but with character development and with moral and ethical dilemma, PLEASE WATCH THIS!