12 (2007)

Sergey Makovetskiy, Sergey Garmash, Apti Magamaev, Nikita Mikhalkov,
12 is a movie starring Sergey Makovetskiy, Sergey Garmash, and Apti Magamaev. Twelve jurors must decide the fate of a Chechen adolescent charged with murdering his stepfather.
  • 7.6 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Aleksandr Novototskiy-Vlasov, Vladimir Moiseenko, Writer:
  • Director:
  • Leonid Vereshchagin, Producer:

Trailer:

9 / 10

A masterpiece based on fantasy

This is a masterpiece. The beauty of the film is in its simplicity. Almost the whole thing takes place in a high school gymnasium, around a long table around which the twelve jurors sit. Every performance is superb, including that of the director, who plays the foreman, and Sergei Garmash as the cab driver juror. The screenplay follows the tortuous deliberations, in which every juror has at least one soliloquy. Excellent camera-work and lighting augment the heavy drama.

It is more likely in Russia today that twelve whites would end up forming a jury, although less so that no women would be serving. Director Nikita Mikhalkov evidently chose to remain faithful that much to the American movie on which his is based, Twelve Angry Men. One wonders whether it might have been more interesting with women jurors contributing their anguish to the picture, and since this version is simply titled 12, the possibility of including a woman or two (as would be realistic in this day and age) was presumably open. Also, the film is not realistic in the sense that Russia does not have a jury system, therefore this situation would not arise in real life. What Mikhalkov was probably trying to do was to create a morality play, and this he does magnificently. These criticisms are therefore minor. This is a wonderful piece of work.

As the film is starting, for those who know Russian, one sees the logo of "Patriotic Films." This may cause groans among those who know more about Russia. Patriotic Russians today seem reactionary and defensive to many Westerners. But Mikhalkov does not dance around the sensitive race issue at the core of the plot, a Chechen boy accused of murdering his stepfather, a Russian military officer, and facing life in prison. Mikhalkov's main interest really is in truth, justice and honesty. The idea of these qualities as components of "patriotism" actually lies at the core of this story, and it is brilliantly executed. By the end, if you can suppress cynicism and believe that this many men of conscience could assemble in one place in Russia today, you will be moved to tears. This is a major achievement.

10 / 10

Not a remake, but an investigation into today's Russia

Sure, it is difficult and will be difficult for all those who have seen Sidney Lumet's Twelve angry men to avoid recalling part of that wonderful movie where, like in this, we move between great characters and excellent actors to investigate about the meaning of personal involvement in the life of a community.

However, apart from the similar elements that we'll find, this movie achieves, as only a few films have done, to investigate the mechanisms of the current Russian society from the inside. Michalkov is greatly helped in this task not only by an excellent scenario and direction but also by a cast of actors that achieves perfection (including himself as the president of the jury).

The picture of the Russia of today is not optimistic (I would be tempted to say that rarely this has been the case in Russian history), and what appears clear is the capacity of the Russian people, that also emerge from the Russian literature and opera, to struggle and survive in the middle of chaos and brutality. If there is hope, it is in the tenacity of the individuals to be committed to fight...but when will this fight come to a (positive) end?

9 / 10

An encouraging thoughts film

A remake of a famous praised film is always a high-risk project, because a director takes risks to lapse into blind imitation. Fortunately Mikhalkov has enough talent and experience to rethink "12 Angry Men" by Sidney Lumet, to pass it through his own identity and produce an absolutely new and fresh film. This thought-provoking film surpassed all my expectations. Though it is a remake of an American movie, its plot is rooted in Russian reality. It reflects a lot of society's ills and nation's fears. I was deeply moved and fully satisfied with totally naturalistic dialogues. To my mind all-star cast played with miraculous virtuosity. The characters are true to life and I am sure that any Russian will be able to recognize himself in one of these 12 men. "12" is a stunning and intense drama with a large pool of talented actors, which leaves a lasting impression with you.

8 / 10

A Worthy (and very Russian) Homage to the Original

Some of the IMDb commenters are a bit tough on this film for having some characters that verged on caricature. I see their point, but I think it is a bit unfair here. Given that this was an homage to the original (on its 50th anniversary), Mikhalkov had to take its basic plot as his foundation. That necessarily drained much of the drama from the story?-we know which way the countdown is going to proceed. It also forced him to deal with all 12 men.

Thus, what can he do to keep it interesting? He (1) features the ensemble acting?-terrific even to me as a non-Russian speaker, (2) highlighted the characters' weaknesses, including some human and Russian traits that have to be a bit outsized, (3) added a detached but affecting commentary on brutality of the Chechnya war and the tendency for Muscovites to see Chechens as monolithic, and (4) threw in a few plot wrinkles at the end. Given the constraints he faced, I thought it was a fine adaptation?and was thoroughly engrossing. Mikhalkov himself, as the jury foreman, is a commanding screen presence as well.

10 / 10

This movie - simply A Masterpiece.

This movie again proves that Mr. Mikhalkov is Genius and Russia should be proud of such man like him. This movie is truly a masterpiece because of great acting, interesting story, and beautiful conversation scenes. I recommend such movie for a viewer, who is tired from popular Hollywood big-budget films (i'm not saying they are bad) and wants to try something new, unexpected but enjoyable. If you are intelligent, you will like this film and you will be amazed of how professionally it is made and at the end of a movie you surely won't be thinking "why i spent almost two and a half hours of my life watching this?".

So, i recommend not to be scared of the length and 20 minutes of boredom at the beginning and watch this Masterpiece in every detail.