I'm not sure why more movie-makers don't go for the simple story-line. Today in order for a movie to get the green light it seems to need so much money thrown at it, special effects or 3D as mandatory, a ridiculously high paid actor to play the lead irrespective of whether or not they are any good, and the prospect of at least one sequel and maybe a prequel. Oh and if there is any money left over maybe we can get a script-writer who can do more than trot out the same old tired cliches.
In 12 Angry Men you have a movie made in the way all movie's should be.
The story is more important than anything else, and yet the premise is so incredibly simple. When we ask a group of our peers to make a decision on the guilt or innocence of one of us, it really would be a fascinating experience to sit and observe them making their deliberations. In 12 Angry Men that is exactly what we get, but with a slight twist there needs to be an unanimous decision.
For just over an hour and half you are gripped. Yes it probably is a little obvious (and maybe a little contrived) but for the duration you are pulled along with some outstanding acting performances. How do you get consensus in a room of 12 people when you have a whole range of different views with each person carrying different personal baggage? At what point do you follow the crowd and at what point do you stand up for what you believe in?
I've been in those situations before when having a debate with someone who just won't accept anything other than their opinion, irrespective of logic and reason. It is incredibly frustrating. Yet what do you do when you need consensus? How do you go about convincing that person? What if there is more than one that needs convincing?
Henry Fonda manages to cajole and coax the other 11 jurors around to his way of thinking, which truthfully is never in doubt from the moment the movie starts. What is beautiful is the way in which he does that. This movie is one to watch and one to watch again...
I am truly gutted that this is the first time I have ever seen this movie. Where has it been my whole life??? When I reached the end I was sorely tempted to watch it all over again, and it is without a doubt one of my top ten movies of all time.