12 Angry Men (1957)
Produced in 1957, this movie has a lot to say for the modern day movie makers. This movie is directed by Sidney Lumet, with Henry Fonda (Davis) playing the lead role.
The movie begins with the last part of a courtroom trial, which convicts a boy of 18 years with the murder of his own father. It was argued that he had a fight with his father that night, stabbed him with a newly bought knife and ran away. Sometime later, he came back, just to be caught by the cops. Probably, the defense argument was not very strong and it was considered an open-and-shut case.
A jury comprising of 12 men were given the responsibility of analyzing the case and to give the final verdict. 11 out of 12 men feel that the case is straight forward and consider the boy guilty. Henry Fonda decides to be different, not by premeditation but by an inner feeling that the other 11 might be wrong. “May be he is guilty. May be he is not. That’s what we are here to discuss and find out”, is what he says when asked for justification. Further, he feels that the trial missed out many trivial stuff and has strong doubts on the boy being convicted guilty.
Then it is all war of words. By common-sense thinking and detailed analysis, he starts convincing the others, one by one, that the boy ‘might not be’ guilty. Some very nice facts, which were missed in the trial, like the eye-sight problem of the eye-witness etc., slowly convinces others. Thus starting with a 11-1 vote in favor of the boy ‘Guilty’, finally turns out to be 12-0 vote in favor the boy ‘Not Guilty’.
A point clearly made in the whole of the film - no member of the jury must be prejudiced and must analyze the case only by facts, not by their own experience. This is excellently portrayed by the man, who considers the boy guilty, just because his own son had attacked him in a similar situation. Another point excellently made - the jury must not take any case lightly, especially when involving the life of a convict. Their duty is to discuss the facts, without prejudice and come to a unanimous conclusion.
Shot inside a Jury room for about 90 minutes, this movie provides you with enough suspense and excitement. (Present day movie directors who spend crores on the sets and locations, NOTE!). A must watch movie for all those who loves court trials and suspense.
Star Rating - 9 on 10
IMDB Link - 12 Angry Men