The Best Film Added To Netflix this Week

12 Angry Men (1957, Sidney Lumet)

This flick gives me the horn. Big time. It’s almost entirely shot on a single set, yet intensely cinematic. It’s just a dozen blokes talking to each other, yet moves and twists like a thriller. It gives you the chance to feel all liberal and self-righteous, yet it’s also fucking hilarious. And it’s one of the truly hot summer films. Like Do The Right Thing-level hot. I’m loosening my collar just thinking about it.

A young lad from the slums is on trial for murder. The 12 men of the title – women aren’t to be trusted, especially back then in the 50s – gather in the jury room to thrash out a verdict. They take an initial vote and all except one, Juror 8 (Henry Fonda), say “guilty”. Juror 8’s position is initially mocked and derided, but as they go back over the details of the case, a different scenario from the one presented in court (which we have not been privy to) starts to emerge.

The screenplay, by Reginald Rose, is a piece of genius in its exposition, pacing and characterization. Every character manages to make an impact, yet none is painted too broadly. The cast, which includes Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam and Jack Klugman, is borderline immaculate.

This was Sidney Lumet’s first film and I doubt he ever made a better one.

Sam Bowles

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s