A loose remake of 12 Angry Men (1957), set in a Russian school. 12 jurors are struggling to decide the fate of a Chechen teenager who allegedly killed his Russian stepfather who took the teenager to live with him in Moscow during the Chechen War in which teenager lost his parents. The jurors: a racist taxi-driver, a suspicious doctor, a vacillating TV producer, a Holocaust survivor, a flamboyant musician, a cemetery manager, and others represent the fragmented society of modern day Russia. A stray bird (a touch of New Age cinema) is flying above the jurors' heads, alluding to tolerance.Written by
The surgeon defends the south by naming several great artists from there. "Shota Rustaveli" was a 12th Century Georgian poet. "Pirosmani" (the more common name of Niko Pirosmanashvili, 1862 - 1918) was a Georgian primitivist painter. "Sergei Paradjanov" (also spelled Sergei Parajanov) (1924 -1990) was an Armenian film director and artist. "Danelia" is Georgiy Daneliya is a Georgian film director, known for his "sad comedies". See more »
"Ernest Emerson" is a manufacturer of knives from the USA. However their model, CQC7, is not like the knife on the film. Emerson knives are folding knives. See more »
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 adaptationand was thoroughly engrossing. Mikhalkov himself, as the jury foreman, is a commanding screen presence as well.
41 of 64 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this