Well, well, well…
A very Happy Ugadi to all the Telugites, warm Gudi Padva wishes to all the Maharastrians and a Happy Holiday to the rest of them who are enjoying a day off from work for no reason at all.
It is Wednesday and I’m up for the first one in the Must Watch category.
This movie that I am writing about is a very old one. Most of us were not even born when it was released. 12 Angry Men is a movie which was released in 1957 and was directed by Syndey Lumet. For those you who do not know him, he has directed many brilliant award winning movies like Murder on the Orient Express and Network. The film was written and produced by the then famous controversial and political drama writer Reginald Rose. Do check out his work. It is pretty intriguing for those with a tinge of political sense. It also stars ‘the Henry Fonda’ in the lead role and as the producer of the film.
Now this film, has intrigued me a lot considering my love for psychological debates. When I was first introduced to this film, I was in no mood for a monochrome movie with dull background scores and overly dramatic actors. But this one had just kept me glued till the end. It starts off with a court-scene where 12 jurors from various backgrounds, professions and mentalities are given the responsibility to debate and conclude the guilt or acquittal of the accused on the basis of reasonable doubt, i.e. they set the stage to decide whether or not the boy is to be blamed based on the facts and their judgmental evidences.
Err, is this how court room sessions happen in the United States?…. Apparently yes, in most cases.
Here is where the story takes a turn. With a plain case of total agreement in favor of the defendant being guilty, it spurs into the contrast. How, when and why is where you download the movie, watch it and be surprised. The film runs on the line delivered by Fonda’s character “we have a reasonable doubt, and that’s something that’s very valuable in our system. No jury can declare a man guilty unless it’s sure”
The movie is confined to a single location which is the jury room – the characters are named as Jurors 1 through 12, the defendant is referred to as “the boy”, and the witnesses as “the old man” and “the lady across the street”and this whole set up just makes it more interesting, more intriguing and more intense. All through the movie, we observe diverse conflicting patterns of emotions and social attitudes exhibited by characters from assorted personalities. There are moments which vent out a momentary light and humorous tone to make up for the potentially heavy and serious story line.
Henry Fonda, who plays the character of Juror#8 steals the show with his ingenious action as an architect who thinks he owes it to the man with a mandatory Chair sentence for which bagged the BAFTA Award as the Best Actor. The film was also nominated at the Oscars for Best picture, Best Director and Best Writing for Adapted Screenplay.
With so much happening from the title cards to the climax, the movie has an intense gripping effect on the audience. If you have not watched the movie, I say, you Must Watch it and treat yourself with some pondering about human instincts and inclinations. If you did watch the movie, it is may be time to re-watch and re-live the vigour.
Let me know what you think of this read. Also let me know if you had any other thoughts while reading this. Happy Watching.