12 Angry Men (1957) Movie Review

Who Said Jury Duty Is Easy?

One juror tries to convinced the other members that their case is not as simple as they think. 12 Angry Men sounds like an intimidating movie but it’s not. I thought it’s a very clever film. First because they don’t name any of the characters. Throughout the movie you will know the twelve men only by their number order. The protagonist, juror number 8, thinks the boy on the trial is not the killer and try hard to convince (with slight manipulation) the other jurors to change their verdicts. The character of juror number 8 appears to be slight cocky and mysterious to me. I was expecting a big reveal at the end but surprisingly it’s not there. I mean isn’t it “possible” that juror number 8 has a connection with the boy? While most of the men can be persuaded to think differently, tension arise when juror number 3 stubbornly refused. He believes the boy is guilty because all of the evidences pointed at him. And thus, the 12 Angry Men gets its name.

Directed by the late Sidney Lumet, the film takes place mostly in one room at the court-house. By having this setting, it’s easier to build tension and plot – we feel the stresses, boredom, angers, pains these twelve men endured. Some of them wants to leave and some of them doesn’t even care about the case. But how can you not care when its an innocent kid on trial? That’s the question Sidney Lumet tried to implement on the viewers mind. He wants you to know that these characters have a big decision to make and you are invited to join them. The choice of leaving out who the killer in the end is a clever trick because the audience get to decide.

This is my first time watching Henry Fonda and I think his performance as juror number 8 is amazing. Juror number 3 played by Lee J. Cobb shall also get your hatred and sympathy at the same time. Other supporting cast are also worth the mention, notably Jack Klugman who portrays one of the jurors with a terrible past and Joseph Sweeney who showed us that old person can also be awesome at given time!