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Tricia's retro film review: 12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men


12 Angry Men is the 1957 drama directed by Sidney Lumet. A jury is presiding over a case where a young boy is alleged to have killed his father. When they heave to deliberate on the case, they all think he is guilty, except juror 8. He starts to explain his arguments about why he believes that he’s innocent. The juror slowly starts to get them over to his side. However, he has an adversary in juror 3, who is estranged from his son. The members argue back and forth about the evidence. Will they be able to find the young man innocent or will it end in a hung jury?

This is a really good film that makes jury deliberations actually interesting. The viewer gets the impression that juror 3 is being less of a heartless avenger than trying to get back at his son for leaving him by using a proxy, unaware that he’ll be sending the kid to his death. It’s just as much of a character study as it is a courtroom drama, as we get a peek into most of the men. Ironically, the new citizen is more willing to shoulder the responsibility of being an American than the native born ones are. The movie does highlight the problem of poverty and that the poor are written off as born criminals. One wonders how good the judge and lawyers are if juror 8 can do a better job finding reasonable doubt better than they can. The climax is memorable, as juror 3 lets out all of the emotions he’s suppressing, turning him into a truly three dimensional character. Honolulu film fans should watch this movie.

More at: Tricia’s Retro Film Reviews

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