Some of my favorite films come from play adaptions (looking at you All About Eve) and when the final credits rolled on this particular movie, I immediately took 12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957) down into my Top 10 favorite.
Why, you ask? It’s brilliant from head to toe. The concept alone gets me – 12 jurors whose verdict determines the life or death of an 18 year-old charged for patricide. 11 jurors think he’s guilty and only one (Henry Fonda, of course), votes not guilty.
Thus, this movie plunges into a legitimate thriller – heated conversations build, poignant plot points are skillfully revealed, and the entire movie takes place in the same location. Furthermore, it has that optimistic lilt of classic films, the idea of a hero who is truly a hero in every sense – no anti-heroic strings attached or built up dark past.
This film isn’t without moments that irked me – the title for one. I’d like to see 12 Angry People – get me some diversity here. But even this element surprised me. For a movie with twelve white men sitting at a table, the depth, range, and nuance for each character transcended the “type” you saw when they first took their seats.
Now, you take a seat, rent the movie, and have your mind blown.