Critic Reviews



Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The movie plays like a textbook for directors interested in how lens choices affect mood.
A penetrating, sensitive, and sometimes shocking dissection of the hearts and minds of men who obviously are something less than gods. It makes for taut, absorbing, and compelling drama that reaches far beyond the close confines of its jury room setting.
Slant Magazine
What's most interesting about the intense deliberations that ensue, specifically when a piece of seemingly indisputable evidence is brought back into question, is how a fresh angle and perspective, usually born from Juror 8's critical thinking, can permanently alter the tone of the discussion.
Few film directors can resist the urge to "open out" a story, to broaden the view and bring in as wide a variety of sets and locations as the narrative - and budget - will allow. The genius of Sidney Lumet's astonishingly powerful 12 Angry Men is that he does exactly the opposite: he takes an already small, claustrophobic space - a jury room - and makes it even more confined.
Time Out
Too few films take on the art of arguing as a subject; we could certainly use more of them, but until then, Lumet’s window into strained civic duty will continue to serve mightily.
Sidney Lumet's dazzling debut, based on Reginald Rose's teleplay, delivers a masterclass in the pure dynamism of acting, as Henry Fonda's reasonable doubt gradually sways the 11 other jurors from their various prejudices.
Perhaps the motivations of each juror are introduced too quickly and are repeated too often before each changes his vote. However, the film leaves a tremendous impact.
Time Out London
What really transforms the piece from a rather talky demonstration that a man is innocent until proven guilty, is the consistently taut, sweltering atmosphere, created largely by Boris Kaufman's excellent camerawork. The result, however devoid of action, is a strangely realistic thriller.
The stakes of those deliberations are so high, the personalities of the jurors so forceful, and the arguments so pregnant with importance that there is no instance in which boredom threatens.
Mechanically written, but within its own middlebrow limitations, it delivers the goods.

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