Perhaps the one thing that most separates Mikhalkov's film from its American counterparts is a difference in law rather than dramatic choice. As a young Chechen man (Apti Magamayev) paces in his cell, 12 men sit around a long table in a high school gymnasium deciding whether or not the youth will spend the rest of his natural life in prison. Accused of murdering his stepfather, the young man would face a far more fatalistic sentence if he were to be tried stateside. As in Rose's original, the group is slowly picked apart by a singular vote of not guilty. But where the original was wound tightly around the fate of the accused, Mikhalkov's concept nearly disregards the young man in question and accentuates instead the empty space of the large gymnasium.
Continue reading: 12 Review
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