Movie Review – 12 Angry Men

Posted: July 14, 2015 in Movie Reviews
Tags: , ,

I’ve always been the guy who was against watching a movie for second time. I can’t watch a movie just to appreciate it better and I guess I’m too egoistic to watch a movie for second time because I didn’t understand. But thanks to Lights On. I’m able to watch all the movies that I watched initially. And what a pleasure it is. We had a discussion when the club was started and one of the founder members said, during my instance of planning to play a specific movie, “I understand your enthusiasm but you can’t directly push them into it. You’ve to hold their hands and take them through.” That’s the feeling. Of walking through all my (our) favorite movies in the order we watched. Only that the kid is as eager to hold the hands and watch the movies as much as the father does. It’s a real pleasure!

12 angry men

When deciding 12 Angry Men for movie discussion. I was skeptical. Yes, I was quite hooked when I watched the movie first but I wasn’t sure how great this film is technically. But only when I watched for the second time I knew that I was not only hooked but so many shots and direction were so brilliantly made. I remember this as my first black and white film and was so proud to say to my dad, when he scolded me for watching movies, that I was not watching movies just like that. 12 Angry Men couldn’t be watched by everyone. The second part I’m not sure but this was the first movie I chuckled while watching and I did chuckle again. All I remembered was that I chuckled but didn’t remember why I chuckled. But I do!

There is a scene in the movie where Juror 10 talks about how ‘they all are bad, how they all don’t deserve to live’ and one by one all the jury members walk away from him. His voice slowly fades and he keeps telling, “Listen to me. Listen…” Only to be told, “I have. Now sit down and don’t open your mouth again.” Is there a scene which has been directed in a better way in a courtroom drama? And remember that it was 1957 when it was made. A time where the receiver of a telephonic call would mouth the other sides conversation too so that we could understand. That’s how literal movies were made back then. And here the concept is told just by pure direction.

The way the whole movie builds up and keep you interested itself is a thing to reckon for. The way they come to the room, how they take time to settle in, and how one guy remains in bathroom, how each of them try to start the conversation, the fan doesn’t work. Almost every character gets established in the initial shot. I guess it’s a long shot. I don’t feel like going back and looking what shot it was. It gives me a good memory. I’ll be content with that.

Then the story slowly starts, the characters develop. Henry Fonda is a treat to watch, with his mild hunchback and curious face he gets us hooked throughout. Then one by one join with him. People who were afraid to say ‘Not Guilty’ say be more vociferously after that. They get more confident. They get enough strength to defend their argument.

Everyone sticks to their characters so well, there isn’t a single person who doesn’t look like being purposely injected. There are all types of people in there and all are unique in their own way. But that uniqueness doesn’t mean that these characters were put in just to make it look unique and different.

There is this question by Juror 4, the one with most clarity, “what if you make us all agree that he is not guilty and in real he had committed the murder.” In the end when everyone agrees that he’s not guilty and Henry Fonda too says prior to climax that we can never be sure of exact things that happened, they go ahead with the ‘Not Guilty’ verdict. But the question of Juror 4 still haunts me.


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