Film of the Day (07/23/18): 12 Angry Men

 

Written By Reginald Rose
Directed By Sidney Lumet

Timing is everything. This is a film I’ve been hearing about for a long time, and now that I’ve seen it, it feels like the perfect movie for this era. Reasonable doubt is something that always seems to be in question, and in a time when everyone has an opinion on everything and most seem quick to pull the trigger (metaphorically speaking), it’s interesting to think about what that phrase can mean in a case that appears to be open and shut. For a “courtroom drama,” this doesn’t follow any of what have become the standard norms, which made it very refreshing watch for me. For 90 minutes, you’re stuck in the deliberation room with the jury of a murder trial, and as tensions mount and passions spill over, you begin to feel the walls closing in as they must have. This was Lumet’s feature length directorial debut, and it’s an incredibly impressive one. As a viewer, you may find yourself taking the same journey as one of the nameless jurors in the script. At first, the evidence seems plain as day and you may wonder why only one man votes not guilty and wants to talk through the case. After all, a man’s life is in their hands, and that’s nothing to be taken lightly. As doubt starts to creep into the room, one juror at a time, it may begin to affect your viewpoint, too. Just how concrete is this evidence? What motives might the witnesses have for giving such strong testimonies? What prejudices might have been in play when initially hearing the evidence as it was presented? These concepts make for a fascinating film that everyone, especially in times like these, should see.

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