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Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov's remake of <em>12 Angry Men </em>is set in post-Communist Moscow, with a Chechen youth on trial for murder as the defendant. Mikhalkov won an Oscar in 1994 for <em>Burnt by the Sun.</em>&
 

12
Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
(R)

***

A Russian interpretation of the renowned legal drama, 12 Angry Men.

Nikita Mikhalkov’s 12 is the “rare remake that does honor to the spirit of the original,” said Lou Lumenick in the New York Post. The Russian director does an “ingenious” job of re-creating Reginald Rose’s TV play, which Sidney Lumet turned into the classic American film 12 Angry Men in 1957. Mikhalkov, who won an Oscar for 1994’s Burnt by the Sun, sets his version in post-Communist Moscow, transforming the defendant into a Chechen youth on trial for the murder of his adoptive father. But he “does more than just transplant the story,” said Noel Murray in The Onion. While Lumet’s film was trimmed and tight, Mikhalkov expands the structure, “cutting between contentious jury deliberations and the fretful stewing of the accused, who flashes back to his war-worn youth in Chechnya.” Escaping the confines of the jury room adds to the story, said Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. As Mikhalkov takes us through the Russian countryside and Chechen streets, he reveals an “intimate” understanding of the nation, “the joy and pain of its people.”

 

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