Compelling Russian Theatre
Release Date: March 06, 2009
Starring: Sergei Makovetsky, Sergey
Garmash, Aleksei Petrenko,
Yuiriy Stoyanov, Sergei
Gazarov, Nikita Mikhalkov,
Mikjail Yefremov, Valentin
Gaft, Aleksey Gorbunov, Sergei
Verzhbitskiy, Roman Madyanov,
Aleksander Adabashyan, and
Audience: Older Teens & Adults
Runtime: 159 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Nikita Mikhalkov
Executive Producer: Alexei Balashov and Sergei
Producer: Nikita Mikhalkov and Leonid
Writer: Nikita Mikhalkov, Vladimir
Moiseyenko, and Aleksandr
Address Comments To:Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcia Bloom
Sony Pictures Classics
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833
Fax: (212) 833-8844
Web Page: www.sonyclassics.com
Cloistered away in a high-school gymnasium that is being used as a makeshift jury room, the jurors sit down for what should be a quick declaration of “guilty” over the young Chechen soldier. The evidence is overwhelming. The verdict should be made, as the bailiff tells the jurors, “in 20 minutes.” Eleven of the 12 jurors immediately choose to convict the young man, but one votes to acquit. The one dissenting juror has no reason for his vote other than the fact that he feels the others have acted too quickly on such a heavy decision.
For the next three hours, the jurors review the facts of the case, and they reenact the murder scene. As flashbacks reveal the accused boy’s journey through war-torn Chechnya, each of them vacillates on the young Chechen’s guilt or innocence as they individually monologue about their own conflicts and connections to the case in revealing and surprising ways.
12 is a brilliantly acted movie that echoes classic Russian theatre in the heritage of Anton Chekhov. With a well-crafted screenplay and simple direction, the movie offers a wonderful platform for each of the performers to take center stage in gripping performances. Although reading subtitles for 159 minutes may make the movie seem somewhat over-long, this is quite possibly one of the more enjoyable movies of the past year for fans of classic theatrical performances.
The movie does contain some mild objectionable content, including 14 obscenities and six profanities, as well as some violent imagery of war-torn Chechnya. Also, the movie has depicted cigarette use and gestures of drug use as well as some remarks about racial prejudices.
That said, the offensive content is mostly mild, and discerning viewers will be able to see past the mostly mixed humanist worldview and enjoy the positive elements of mercy, justice and grace. So, 12 is, all in all, one of the more enjoyable movies this year. Media-wise viewers, especially older teenagers and adults, may enjoy the stellar performances in this wonderful movie.
12 has a well-crafted screenplay directed simply. It offers a wonderful platform for each performer to take center stage in gripping performances. Although reading subtitles may make the movie seem somewhat long, this is one of the more enjoyable movies to come out recently, especially for fans of classic theater. There is some strong foul language, however, some violent imagery and a light drug reference.