12 Angry Men (1957) Review
A jury must decide the verdict on the murder a young man has been charged with, does all of the evidence add up to send this person to their death?
This is a really special film and I think it deserves all of the praise it gets. We don’t see the trial and hear any of the evidence in the courtroom, the only thing we hear is the judge telling the jury they must all agree on the verdict and that if found guilty the death penalty would be the outcome.
We are then in the room with the jury, a lot of the men just want it to be over and done with as quickly as possible not really thinking about the man or is he still a boy at only 18 years old? They are quick to say yes he is guilty, the first vote comes out at 11-1. That’s right to start off with only one person believes he is innocent as enough reasonable doubt that he is guilty.
The characters aren’t given any names and simply have a juror number and that is how we know them. Our most leading character comes as the man who first says not guilty and puts his opinion to the rest of the jurors. This then causes plenty of arguments and shouting from most of them.
Everything is built up to raise doubt about all of the “witness” statements given during the trial, as they realise that its not as it all seems. Just showing that you really need to look deeper and make sure that everything adds up when it comes to a court case. It really is engaging to see what different things will help to change someones mind when they really have to think about the evidence.
Henry Fonda is brilliant in the film but so are the other actors they really work well together and it is obvious that so many of them have had Oscar nominations or wins for the level of performances they put into a film. So to have a lot of them in this film I think makes it work even better. It all had to fit together and they all bring out the best in each other performance wise which is something so special.
It certainly makes you wonder how you would fit onto a jury and how you would think about the evidence. I remember the first time I watched this film I found the ending very frustrating but I actually enjoyed that more this time. It doesn’t actually make a difference if we knew the young man was guilty or not as the point of the film was all about the reasonable doubt.
So interesting to see how one man can make such a difference and then get others on his side just by going over the facts. Although you would hope that is something a jury would do on any case, but especially on a case for murder when the evidence was not actually obvious.
Fitting in with the Best Picture Project I have been running for over a year now, this is certainly a perfect choice to watch. If you have not seen this film before I really recommend it for the truly engaging performances with thought provoking theme!