Customer Reviews


1 Review
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful jury tale set in modern Russia. No room for indifference., 27 Mar 2010
By 
M. O'Boyle "MOB" (France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 12 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I have just seen this remake of the Sidney Lumet classic about a jury deliberation. Not a trace of the urbane and articulate Henry Fonda. This classic story has been refracted through the cultural stratosphere of modern day russia traumatised by the horrors of Grozny and battling to come to grips with the new era of political emancipation. Communism is represented by the long ugly pipe that snakes its way across the gym ceiling as a constant reminder of the shoddy workmanship belonging to the old times. Freedom is represented by a bird that flits gaily and innocently throughout the gymnasium space trapped for the duration of the film.
The 12 jurors are a brilliant mix of misfits that have jumped straight from the extraordinary tradition of russian story telling. The masters of russian literature immediately come to mind. Each tells a personal story that appears several light years away from the evidence they are meant to be assessing and yet in some mysterious way is not completely unhinged from it. The story of the murder unfolds as the film progresses with occasional flashbacks to Chechnya and the young accused's life. Enter into the jury room a galaxy of russian citizens from all walks of life who shout and scream at each others stupidity yet weep at each others person recollections with a genuineness that permits them to be persuaded. The tables of certainty are gradually and painstakingly turned by each jurors personal journey. They all want a quick verdict so that they can get back to their lives. They are all irritated by the failure to wrap matters up speedily and convict the obvious murderer. But there is always one oddball with a stone in his shoe that cannot see his way to sharing the majority's convictions and condemns the others to bide their time and interrogate their consciences. The context is Moscow in modern times. And the jury is housed in a school gymnasium to determine the fate of a young chechnyan accused of slitting his step-fathers throat following an altercation.
The filming is sensational. The size of the mobile telephones they all possess (but have to surrender before retreating to the jury room) provide an almost precise date for the setting of the story.
The director manages to bring the audience out of the jury room to survey the tragedies from which the story has sprung without puncturing the tension of the deliberations. The performances of the jurors are epic oscar-winning extravaganzas which leave one quite breathless as the the personal stories are recounted. And this reviewer speaks not a word of russian and followed sub-titles in french throughout the movie. I have rarely seen such power in a film. Even its imperfections mirror the human mess that is being recounted and seem to supplement the films mystique. Have the patience to sit through this film. It is not a tribute to the jury system. It possesses not an ounce of glamour. It is a commentary on crime and punishment, on communism and its legacies, on war and its aftermath of human misery and on film making itself. No western film of recent years comes close to the mastery and power of this production. It is an unforgettable trip to the melodramatic heart of modern day Russia.
Please bring out a Region 2 version of this film quickly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

12 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
12 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] by Nikita Mikhalkov (DVD - 2009)
Used & New from: 5.18
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews