This week I am doing a film review, but will I be covering the latest blockbusters to grace our cinema screens? No, I will be spending the next few months working my way through some golden classics of cinema. You know those films you haven’t seen and people are always freaking out…
“What do you MEAN you haven’t seen it?!”
“I literally think less of you now.”
“Did you HAVE a childhood?!”
And so on and so forth. Well, even though I am a filmmaker I confess there is a large array of classic movies I am yet to see, but I aim to rectify that and bring all of you along for the ride!
To start I have chosen 12 Angry Men, a 1957 American courtroom drama. I had heard about this film a lot. Supposedly it is shown at law school, as it is a great example of juries and how peoples minds can be changed. This film is ace. It was genuinely so good and I could really see why it has stood the test of time and people still rate it today. One of the most impressive aspects of the movie is that it is set almost entirely in one room. The film begins at the end of the trial and the jurors are sent to their room to deliberate and come up with a verdict. This is then where we stay for the almost the entire film. It creates a claustrophobic atmosphere for the audience, which mirrors the feelings of the jurors. With today’s huge blockbusters and massive special effects it’s wonderful to watch something so simple but so effective.
At the beginning of the film the jurors take a vote and it is a split 11:1. And there begins our story. All the jurors but one think its an open and shut case and the boy on trial deserves to go to death row for murdering his father, except one who believes at the very least they should discuss before making up their minds. We watch as the jurors debate and argue and fight until one by one they have to face up to their choice.
What’s really interesting is seeing how each argument that is brought forward can be looked at in a completely different light. When they stop to question things, which before had seemed so certain, cracks appear in the case and it slowly becomes clear that on further inspection there is much more to the murder than there first appeared to be. And it makes you think how something that can seem black and white has so much more to it when you delve deeper. There’s a great moment when they are deciding if an old man could of walked to his door quick enough to see the accused boy in the corridor and they count out each second, giving room to these moments is what makes the film so great.
The most surprising part for me watching this film was how relevant so many of the issues brought up in the film still are today. There are fights about inherent racism and immigrants and if they deserve to be in America, what they bring to the country. I imagine making this film with these ideas and wanting to explore them the writer would of course have imagined by 2017 these would no longer be issues. Sadly it is these same issues that come up and America is going through this again now. Watching an old movie and seeing the main bad guy of the film being a racist and anti immigration brings home how dated and out of touch these views are.
12 Angry Men really is a film everyone should see. Its has a tightly written script, great cinematography, is expertly acted by the whole ensemble and it makes you think. I was debating and talking through the film long after watching. And I am certain it gets you totally smart bragging points!
I give this film a Robs Reviews rating of 5 out of 5, boom!