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Three reasons to watch 12 Angry Men

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30 November 2012 16:13

Welcome to the first (possibly last) in an occasional series in praise of films featuring the law. First up, three reasons to see vintage drama 12 Angry Men.

1. The film stars a boring room


Ok, so you love your legal thrillers. Love watching the crime being committed? You don't get to see that in 12 Angry Men. Love watching lawyers struggle to piece together a case? They don't appear. Love watching the ups and downs of the trial? It's finished before the movie begins. Love watching a dull little room for 90 minutes? You're in luck! Because apart from about 30 seconds, the whole of 12 Angry Men takes place in a dull little room.

  Sweet, this film has a water cooler in it

2. It's an open and shut case

But it's no ordinary dull little room. It's the jury room for a murder trial. One by one a dozen good men and true amble into the sweltering office (there are no women, presumably because 12 Angry Men and Women sounded too much like a failed orgy). The eclectic bunch of teachers, pensioners and blowhards don't expect to be there long. By all accounts, the accused is hopelessly guilty. The foreman calls a vote. Hands shoot up. Except one, belonging to a tall drink of water in a white suit.

Mr Awkward

And so begins a rip-roaring battle between reason, embodied by Henry Fonda, and the massed forces of pride, sloth and prejudice.

3. There's only one Angry Man left, guys

The cast is a who's who of the finest character actors of a generation. And what character: 12 Angry Men  
features so many bulging eyes, cadaverous cheeks and curling lips it sometimes looks like Fonda's stumbled into a support group for the furious ugly. Sadly, all but one, Jack Klugman, are now angry angels.

  You may know me from your student days

Pay your respects and give it a whirl. Rarely has a monotonous room full of chippy blokes been so exciting.
  

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anonymous user
05/12/2012 11:11
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Fantastic film. One of my all-time favourites. Proof that you don't need CGI, shaky hand-held cameras, titillation or vampires to make a great film, just great acting and direction.
Jamie @ RoF
05/12/2012 11:30
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To anonymous user @ 05/12/2012 11.11:

Couldn't agree more. If you are a fan, you might enjoy this article asking if the 12 angry men actually got it completely wrong (just don't read it unless you've seen the film, since it contains spoilers): http://www.avclub.com/articles/did-12-angry-men-get-it-wrong,83245/
anonymous user
12/03/2014 11:54
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Did 12 angry men get it wrong? Not as wrong as the court martial in A Few Good Men! The lesson? Enjoy these films for the acting etc and don't try to over-analyse them as legal documentaries!