Usually, when a director makes their debut, the movie either comes and goes in a blink of an eye or it leaves a lasting impression on those who see it. Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men definitely falls into the latter.
The movie opens in a courtroom where, after hearing the closing statements, the jury listening to the judge telling them their decision for the fate of a teenage boy accused of murdering his father must be unanimous. It then cuts to the jury room, where some of the jurors say they want to make the verdict quick so they can watch the baseball game. However, they don't get a quick verdict because one reluctant juror (played brilliantly by Henry Fonda) says that the boy is innocent. Slowly but surely, he explains how some of the factors heard in court are inaccurate. Despite this, Juror #3 (Lee J. Cobb) still thinks that the boy's guilty.
The movie generates a feeling of claustrophobia from the camera angles, which is a powerful part of the movie. The acting is also powerful, particularly from Fonda. Though, I'm still amazed that this is Sidney Lumet's directorial debut. He has made other powerful movies such as The Verdict, Dog Day Afternoon and Network, but 12 Angry Men is the best of the bunch.
My Rating: *****