A tight and intense drama about an alcoholic lawyer with a case he absolutely needs to win. The film was nominated for multiple Oscars (including Best Director) and features one of Paul Newman's very best performances.
This turned out to be Lumet's last film, but it showed that he was still at the very top of his game. Little seen when it came out in 2007, it's a great film that's worth tracking down on DVD.
In his best films Lumet brings a sense of timelessness to his subject matter. Here the story centers on how the drama created by media attention allows a bank robbery/hostage situation to swell out of control as it morphs from a life or death situation into a general entertainment.
It's the simplicity of this film that makes it so powerful. It's just twelve men in a room discussing the evidence in a murder trial. It is, without question, one of the best legal dramas ever committed to film.
A flawless film that seems more true with each year that passes. If this was the only film he ever made, Lumet still would have assured himself a place in the American film cannon.