12 Angry Men (1957)
The past two years in doing my top 100 this film has been ranked #102. For whatever reason, it slips through the cracks. It had probably been about five or six years since I had last seen it, so it just never got that extra push forward. Well, that push comes just a couple of weeks too late. This is a fantastic film. It is a movie that is all talking and acting, which is certainly the type of film I usually enjoy. The film is done in mostly long, unbroken takes which seriously milk the tension, the heat, and the anger in the room. Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, and company are all at the top of their games. Everyone plays their parts to the 9s (or 12s hahaha). Sidney Lumet is one of the great American directors of all time. I cannot believe that this was his first film. He has total control over the atmosphere and mood. Everything is so precisely made without ever feeling bombarded by style, which is clearly there. The tracking shots are subtle and beautifully done. The script is airtight and is never boring in the slightest. The dialogue is consistently interesting. They give you the feeling as though you are a thirteenth juror and really make you come to your own decision on the case. I like when a film makes you participate actively in what you are watching. The questions that arise make you think. In the end, this is a great film, and one that unfairly got the short end of the stick when making my top 100. Next time around, there will be certain adjustments made to fit this in. This top 100 is getting awfully crowded. Go out and see this if you haven't.