Critical Analysis Of Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men

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Sidney Lumet 's staggering courtroom drama 12 Angry Men mostly takes place in the cramped jury room where a dozen “men with ties” decide the fate of Puerto Rican teenager accused of murdering his abusive father. Yet the prologue to their civic imprisonment, which takes place beyond these confined walls, sets the stage for Lumet 's overarching concerns about the contradictions of the democratic process. After a few short establishing shots where men, women, and children traverse the plaza steps and interior hallways of the court building, Lumet and director of photography Boris Kaufman focus on a particular door, where one of many cases currently in motion is just about to reach critical mass. The legal arguments have subsided, leaving the courtroom mostly silent and the fate of the accused in the hands of the aforementioned 12 white men. Before their dismissal, the judge looks down at the group and bequeaths them to “separate the fact from the fancy.” Despite his harsh tone, we quickly realize only one of them takes this statement seriously. That man is Juror 8 (Henry Fonda), the lone dissenting voice during the jury 's disturbingly jovial initial vote to convict the boy of first-degree murder, which would send him to the electric chair. Juror 8 has questions, a lot of them that he wants to discuss further, much to the chagrin of his fellow jurors. “There 's always one,” yells sarcastic Juror 10 (Ed Begley), who, like many of his fellow deliberators, desires a quick
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