12 Angry Men – A Slice of Cinematic Mastery

It blows my mind that a film barely 90 minutes long, and set in a single room for practically the entire runtime, can feel so epic and grand, yet so deeply personal and intimate.

The vast range of human emotions and experiences which are explored through a relatively simple premise is astounding. This is perhaps one of the greatest screenplays (Reginald Rose) in the history of American cinema, and an equally as impressive directorial effort from Sidney Lumet.

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Sidney Lumet giving direction on the set of “12 Angry Men.” 

The performances from each of the 12 jurors are riveting, convincing, and nuanced with astonishing complexity and depth. From the masterful delivery of long, drawn-out monologues, to the subtle, quieter moments of introspection and self-reflection, each actor is magnificent in his respective role.

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The jurors in “12 Angry Men.”

The gorgeous black-and-white photography, the visual storytelling and cinematographic progression which depict the character arcs, and the concise editing are all incorporated with expertise and adroitness. There is a beautiful, rich aesthetic quality to this film, comparable to the allure of the story’s deep, resonant, and intense themes. This feature is a spectacular example of a balance of both style and substance. There is recognizable respect and reverence paid to all facets of this film’s body of work, truly displaying the filmmakers’ passion and craftsmanship.

I will definitely be watching and studying this film consistently for years to come. “12 Angry Man” is undoubtedly a masterpiece in every sense of the word.

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Cinematography by Boris Kaufman.

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