VIDEO: The trailer for 12
Veteran Russian director Nikolai Mikhalkov's 12 leaves the "Angry Men" out of the title of his remake of the Sidney Lumet courtroom classic. Feel free to replace it with "Hammy Actors."
Never known for his restraint, Mikhalkov takes kitschy liberties with the stark drama about a jury deliberating the fate of a minority youth (a Chechen in place of the generic ethnic in the original) who's being tried for murder. He throws in the war in the Caucasus, the Russian mob, gratuitous references to Yojimbo, and bathetic set pieces from each of the dozen increasingly emoting jury members.
After the mealy-mouthed liberal juror's sob story about drunkenness and redemption, the racist cab driver's weepy confession of drunkenness and child abuse, the repeated flashbacks to body-draped streets in Chechnya, and such overt symbols as a trapped sparrow (the best performance in the movie) and a leaky steam pipe, the verdict on this one has to be guilty by reason of inanity.