A loose remake of 12 Angry Men (1957), set in a Russian school. 12 jurors are struggling to decide the fate of a Chechen teenager who allegedly killed his Russian stepfather who took the teenager to live with him in Moscow during the Chechen War in which teenager lost his parents. The jurors: a racist taxi-driver, a suspicious doctor, a vacillating TV producer, a Holocaust survivor, a flamboyant musician, a cemetery manager, and others represent the fragmented society of modern day Russia. A stray bird (a touch of New Age cinema) is flying above the jurors’ heads, alluding to tolerance.
When a Russian youth is put on trial for the murder of his adoptive father, it's up to a room full of jurors divided by racism and prejudice to determine the boy's ultimate fate in director Nikita Mikhalkov's loose remake of Reginald Rose's 12 Angry Men. At the center of the storm is a broodingly silent foreman (Mikhalkov). As the deliberation grows increasingly tense, a racist Russian cabbie (Sergei Garmash) attempts to sway the vote of a well-dressed television producer (Yuri Stoyanov) by staging a vivid recreation of a gruesome murder scene; an elderly Jewish man (Valentin Gaft) recovers the nightmares of the Holocaust; and a Caucasus surgeon (Sergei Gazarov) is pushed over the edge by a hateful rant about the brutishness of Chechens. Later, after one soft-spoken juror (Sergei Makovetsky) wins the jury over with a heartfelt monologue about intemperance and redemption, the volatile group struggles to settle on a final verdict. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide