12 Angry Men: A Must Watch + A Study of Cinema Itself

The major characters of a masterpiece called ’12 Angry Men’

12 Angry Men: Movie Analysis
IMDB # 6
It could well be included (and I guess must be) as a part of curriculum of film institutes around the world. It’s an artist’s delight, whether a director, an actor, or a writer.

Summary (Taken from IMDB)
The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case of murder soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors’ prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other. Based on the play, all of the action takes place on the stage of the jury room.

ELEMENTS
1)Set: 99% of the movie is set in a single room. A more generous producer would’ve captured the scenes of various members of jury at different sets to portray their characters, inhibitions, bias, etc which affects the case. However, this team relied on dialogue, and apart from a court scene in the beginning, and outside court stairs in the end, there has been only one single room which a table, 12 chairs, a fan and light, a few papers and pen and some other stuff. And it makes us to question, do we need all those lavish sets when we can actually concentrate on more important parts like script, cinematography, screenplay, etc? I did learn that we don’t need more sets, but a qaulity script, nice direction and cinematography and some performances.

2)Script: It opens at the court. The open-and-shut case is slowly transformed, and what appeared as sure guilty was acquitted. It seems simple and only a perfect script could’ve made it work, especially with only a single room to work with. And the script turned out to be perfect. It’s a brilliant study, this script. You can download it here for study purpose if you wish. And I tell you, it’s a brilliant one. A study about the characters will be good too. But more interesting is the case itself and the loopholes. How a person starts to find ‘reasonable doubt’ and slowly and steadily everyone creeps in. The characters are well defined, and behave according to their domain set-up so artistically in the script.

3)Cinematography: I separated sets from cinematography for some reason, simply because I wanted to talk about sets separately. Cinematography is pretty effective. The feel is all so real, the lighting, the effects, the build and all. The tiny little details that they don’t miss out is really interesting. You can’t find anything wrong because there isn’t.

4)Direction: Direction is spot-on. It needed an able direction to work through with the limited space. And it was managed pretty well. You need to learn those little things of importance from here. Like the character trying to switch on fan. And it getting switched on after the light is switched on, apparently them both sharing the connection. The sweats coming in on the face of a person who never sweats. And from small details to large details, especially since it contains a criminal case.
 
5)Performances: Main 12 characters portray the role to pin-point perfection nearly. From the solitary ‘not guilty’ voter to the afraid man who doesn’t speak much really, and is afraid with a slightly thin voice. It’s all done to perfection. You can’t name one guy here because there were 12 of those, and no fault in any of them. All do their role to conviction. One must watch little little details the actors do. Like the old man who stops in between shouting because he has a breathing trouble. Such a value it adds, and he did it with so much conviction. The guy who appears a bit confused and concerned says ‘can I pass’ and the way he does that is so convincing it makes you feel the thing. The guy who appears to be a man of reason is so calm in everything but when the sweat appears on his face, the coldness in his face also gives to a very slight trouble showing that all isn’t well obviously, but more importantly, he backed the sweat in the script with the performance he showed. The guy who’s grown up in a low atmosphere and his manners (which provide a contrast and a good study), the only ‘not guilty’ voter who keeps stressing reasonable doubt, but appears to be having the doubt with so much conviction that he takes pain to do everything he could, all of the characters are a study for acting enthusiasts.

It is a 1957 black and white classic which you can’t really watch at leisure because if you’re trying to do something else while talking, the movie will tell you come here, take note.

It is worth a watch for everyone who loves cinema.

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