***½/**** Image A- Sound B Extras B
starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall
screenplay by Reginald Rose
directed by Sidney Lumet
by Alex Jackson SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men is centred around the notion that the guilt of an accused man must be established beyond a reasonable doubt if he is to be punished through the legal system. It's a notion that most educated adults in this country have already accepted as a basic moral principle, yet 12 Angry Men manages to come off as surprisingly edgy for arguing sincerely in favour of it. The film never answers the fundamental question of whether or not the accused is indeed guilty. (We as an audience are never shown what actually happened on that fateful night, nor do we ever meet another potential suspect.) The possibility that he could have committed the murder and gotten away with it is left smugly unaddressed. Because it could not be proven in court, it simply doesn't matter.