Coursework Question: Discuss how successfully 'Twelve Angry Men' works as a thriller despite the limitations of setting and ch

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Coursework Question: Discuss how successfully ‘Twelve Angry Men’ works as a thriller despite the limitations of setting and character.

‘Twelve Angry Men’ is a gripping thriller despite the limitations of the film. The black and white 1957 film is packed with suspense even though the film has many restrictions in it. These limitations are things such the setting, the action/special effects, the props, the lack of costume changes, the cast are all twelve middle aged unattractive white men and finally the plot of the film is quite dull and uninteresting. Regardless of these limitations the director, Sidney Lumet, still makes it an exciting thriller by focusing the film on interesting memorable characters with different personalities and back grounds. By being extremely original with his ideas, by creating tension with the setting- makes a claustrophobic effect, by getting the audience involved and thinking on the plot of the jury decision because it judges on the life of a teenage boy and finally by making a wide range of camera shots.

        On paper ‘Twelve Angry Men’ would sound like a very dull film. To bring the film to life it needs a great cast of actors which ‘Twelve Angry Men’ has. The film is full of realistic unforgettable characters that all have different personalities and backgrounds. There are four dominant characters in the film, juror no.3- Lee J. Cobb, juror no.4- E.G Marshall, juror no.8- Henry Fonda and lastly juror no.10- Ed Begley. Juror no.3 is a very aggressive irritated man who has no doubt that the boy is guilty simply based entirely on his personal emotional feelings rather than facts. Throughout the film the audience gets to know about the history of juror no.3, about his wrecked relationship with his son and his hatred over children. He believes that children don’t have enough respect for their parents, he quotes to the rest of the jury, ‘kids these days, huh, when I was a kid I use to call my father sir’. Juror no.3 is extremely aggressive, every time  he talks he shouts the loudest amongst the people and usually shrugs off the other jury members who are against his opinions. He almost tries to bully people’s opinions over, and if someone he thinks has made a point which is against him or disagrees with what he says, he is quick to violently question them. This is seen after the second vote when the votes are two to ten towards guilty, straight after he has realised somebody has joined the opposing side of the jury he questions juror no.5 who he thinks has changed the vote, but later finds out that he is mistaken. Throughout the film juror no.3 contradicts himself for example the time when he looses his patience and tries to take out his aggression on juror no.8, ‘I’m going to kill you!’, he shouts at juror no.8,  this quote is a perfect example of a point made by juror no.8 about the fact that people say ‘I’m going to kill you’, but actually they don’t really mean it, this comes to haunt juror no.3 because he made the point about the boy clearly shouting ‘I’m going to kill you!’ before the scene of the murder. Near the end of the film juror no.3 metaphorically refers to him being one of the executioners that are going to kill the boy on trial, this disgusts all the other jury members and eventually he is on his own for voting ‘not guilty’. Eventually juror no.3 breaks down with intense emotional distress, throughout the film I think he knew the boy was not guilty, he just wanted to take his aggression out on his own personal relationship with his son.  

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        Juror no.4 is another important interesting character. His appearance is very serious and intelligent, he wears glasses which is a traditional symbol of intelligence. Another example of juror no.4’s sophistication is shown by the director portraying the actor wearing a spotless grey suit with his top button and tie done up tight even when the heat starts to irritate the other jurors. Juror no.4 is a thoughtful character who thinks the boy on trial is guilty, this is purely based on facts and his own knowledge. Throughout the film juror no.4 doesn’t get intimidated until one point of the film, ...

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