12 Angry Men Blu Ray|
Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley and Jack Klugman lead the distinctive cast of jurors whose character portrayals are perfect in every detail (The Hollywood Reporter). With its star-powered cast and three Oscar Nominations including Best Picture, 12 Angry Men is a powerful, suspenseful and fascinatingly entertaining film (Los Angeles Examiner). Eleven jurors are convinced that the defendant is guilty of murder. The twelfth has no doubt of his innocence. How can this one man steer the others toward the same conclusion? It's a case of seemingly overwhelming evidence against a teenager accused of killing his father in one of the best pictures ever made (The Hollywood Reporter).from£11.97 | RRP:
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Average Rating for 12 Angry Men [Blu-ray]  - 5 out of 5
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12 Angry Men [Blu-ray] Matt Parker
With Hollywood increasingly saturated with epics, sequels and sci-fi lens flare, 12 Angry Men takes its viewer back to the roots of film, with solid performances, masterfully understated direction, and a riveting story.
Presented to a fan of twenty first century blockbusters, a black and white feature from 1957 may not sound appealing. It's not likely to gain points for conveying a simple story set in one room, which the camera doesn't leave for the entire film, save for bookends at either side. And yet what we have here, written by Reginald Rose and directed by Sidney Lumet, is a film that captures a struggle at the very heart of the Western model of justice.
It's a straight-forward premise: a young man is charged with murder, and a jury of twelve men must decide on a verdict. Each juror is brought to life magnificently by a cast of Hollywood legends, from Henry Fonda (who also serves as co-producer), Ed Begley, Lee J. Cobb & other notable figures from the history of cinema. Each cast member is on form, here. The steady descension many portray into their characters' personal roots of their presumption of guilt is a joy to behold, aided effortlessly by the script and direction.
Through the twelve voices in the room, Rose manages to encapsulate a truly impressive array of characters and moral positions. The film can be viewed as a case study in the validity (or otherwise) of an assumed position. The way in which contrary positions are taken by opposing jurors and how that is explored in a wonderfully natural, flowing script, speaks to the philosophy of logic and the construction of argument, as the selfish positions of jurors who just want to go home are challenged; as the sententious rhetoric of prejudiced jurors is dismantled and shown to be vacuous; and as one juror after another reveal the way in which the decision demanded of them highlight their own struggles.
Lumet's Oscar-nominated direction is simple but effective, and astonishing given the film's spacial limitations. The camera circles the jury, closing in to accentuate the building pressure affecting these individual decision-makers, and panning out at key moments to bring us back to the central issue here: consensus. Twelve Angry Men is about collective decision making among a group of people with widely differing idea of what is just and fair. As the film progresses, the viewer is challenged as much as any of the characters here and is the unspoken thirteenth juror as the question is begged: what would you decide? What do you feel is a fair?
The issue of fairness and the justification for given positions is what haunted me long after this film came to an end. As arguments on-screen are dismantled and moral positioning de-constructed, I was left examining my own basis for positions I hold and whether they would stand the test of scrutiny. It's testament to the power of this film that it reaches beyond the realms of entertainment, to speak to the validity of argument today, nearly six decades later.
The battle for fairness is an ongoing human struggle, but by the end of this film, I was left in no doubt that progress is possible and that accomplishments like this can only help in that journey. Of that, there can be no argument.
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