Dom – Dirk rightly attributes the power of 12 ANGRY MEN to the powerful performances from the ensemble cast, however it is the setting of the Jury room that intensifies the action. The framing and editing of the round-table deliberations is text book stuff and delivered with such pernache that it hides the depth of skill required to film in such a confined space.
Many auteur directors enjoy the challenge of working with the hair-shirt of limitations of space as it allows them to flex the muscles of inventiveness in a medium where the expectations are of infinite excess. It sometimes seems like filmmakers need to distance themselves from theatre by having wonderful exotic and plentiful locations to differentiate cinematic drama from the theatre.
Less, can be more, and these are some of my favourites and on suffocating bore:
LIVING IN A BOX
1) DAS BOOT (1982) Wolfgang Peterson’s brilliant portrayal of life in a U-boat is AUF WEIDERSEHEN PET meets BIG BROTHER meets LIFE OF GRIME.
2) LIFEBOAT (1944) Hitchcock liked to showboat with a personal challenge, this is one of my favourites yet is often forgotten, a cast of cast-a-ways who have escaped from a shipwreck debate their crisis in the confines of a small boat. Hitch even sneaks a cheeky cameo.
3) BURIED (2010) A truck driver is taken hostage in Iraq – or is he? Disorientated, confused and apparently in a cofin with only a mobile phone and a lighter for company. It’s an uncomfortable viewing. If you’re not claustrophobic, you will be by the end!
4) THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985) Detention in a classroom has never been so much fun!
OUT OF THE BOX
5) PHONE BOOTH (2002) “Colin Farrell, is a hostage in a main street phone booth, with a sniper pinning him down” a great pitch. Pity it didn’t go any further.
Open up, what are your choices?