12 Angry Men, 50 weeks/50 films

From Lee Anne

12 Angry Men sounded so familiar.
I’ve been desperately searching in my mind trying to remember which class I watched this film during… was it high school? College? Was it even at school? I’m pretty sure.

Nevertheless, I’ve seen it before.
I thought it was good then, but now, I appreciate it all the more.

How brilliant.

The entire film shot in 1 room.
The entire cast: 14 people.
The entire story, unpacked so beautifully as it is told through the very many varying eyes of these jurors.
Really, really incredible.

In addition to being an all around terrific film, it also speaks so much to important topics.
It’s amazing to see how much – and even more so, how disappointingly little – changes in 50+ years.
It’s sad to see that most people are just as ignorant now as they were then when it comes to blindly stereotyping and thoughtlessly, emotionally accusing those that are different from them.

 

From John

When writing a first time short or feature film many writing teachers will tell you to reduce the number of locations to as few as possible. This way if anyone actually makes your film it will be cheaper – of course rarely do these screenplays get made, because who wants to watch characters hang out in one place the whole time?

12 Angry Men pushed the limits on just how much a film can do with just performance, no real action, no car chases and only one location combine to make the best ensemble film I’ve seen in a long time.

One of the things we see over and over again in life is just how biased we are against anyone who is different – we attack anything that invites us to explore the unknown. This film is about one man who takes the law exactly the way it’s written and meant to be used “Innocence until proven guilty”. So the burden is on the people accusing, not the person or people being accused.

It’s this idea and many others that make America a unique country – on paper. The reality of the film shows that then and now we will struggle to value justice over personal gain… each of the 12 men had something to gain or lose by the verdict of the court. When things began to unravel I found myself identifying with each man in what he thought was so important he would ignore the law and send a man to die because of it.

So the story, the characters interacting, really made this an incredible film and the cinematography really supported each moment, giving us just enough movement without taking away from the actors’ performance. Being shot in black and white made the film striking in it’s use of shadow to show emotion and the thoughts of these men.

See this movie, if you like judicial system movies, or just seeing people in a state of raw emotion and eventual honesty – you will really enjoy it.

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