12 Angry Men
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The “12 Angry Men” is among the greatest court dramas. The movie is captivating for its tension and humanity and its success in portraying the evils perpetrated by the judicial system. “12 Angry Men” is a gripping and endorsing assessment of a dissimilar group of jurors. The jurors are middle-aged white males from the middle class status. The jurors are assembled to make their deliberations after listening to the account of a complicated murder trial case. The jurors are shut in a jury room to perform their civic responsibility and produce a just verdict in a case involving a destitute minority defendant. The defendant has no criminal record and his life hangs in a balance due to the present case against him. In my opinion, the movie is a powerful condemnation, denunciation, and an exposure of the trials conducted by the jury.
There are two groups under trial in the movie, the frightened destitute boy, and the jury. The destitute boy is sentenced for homicide; the boy killed his father with a switchblade dagger. The jurors and the American judicial system are under trial for its alleged sense of infallibility, evenhandedness, and objectivity. The jurors are locked in a jury room in a hot summer and they are expected to produce a unanimous sentence of either guilty or innocent. Alternatively, the film may be viewed as a display of Fascism, McCarthyism, and Communism ideologies all of which were under threat during the 1950s. In my opinion, the author of the movie successfully portrays the deeply entrenched personal prejudices of the twelve jurors. The jurors are full of personal prejudices, personal differences and personalities, cultural variations, and unreliable judgments, which curtail their decision-making capabilities. The jurors ignore the facts of the case resulting in an injustice. The author is successful in portraying the subjectivity of the judicial system. Furthermore, he portrays how the judicial process can be disastrous. The jurors hold the lives of the defendants in their hands, and death in their minds.
Fortunately, the entire judicial system is not rotten; few jurors who have maintained their objectivity despite the mess in the judicial system. A brave and a dissenting juror who issues a “not guilty” verdict at the commencement of the proceedings display this. The juror has reasonable doubt in the case leading him to issue the verdict. Indefatigably and convincingly, the juror he forces the other jurors to reconsider their decision and to review the case in more depth. Additionally, the juror castigates the judicial system for assigning the defendant an incompetent court-appointed defense lawyer who had resented his appointment. The defense lawyer displays the widespread graft among the defense lawyers and their value for money at the expense of justice. The lawyer jeopardizes the defendant’s chances of winning the case by inadequately cross-examining the witnesses.
In conclusion, the film is successful in highlighting the various evils that hinder the execution of justice in the judiciary. However, the film is stagey, static, and is filled with dialogue. The films other shortcomings include a lack of flashbacks, commentary, and subtitles. Furthermore, the jurors are not assigned names; they do not make any introductions at the start. However, there is an exception when two jurors introduce themselves in the final brief ending. Instead of names, the jurors are assigned numbers in a clockwise manner. The numbers are based on jury numbers and the seats they occupy at the conference table, which is located in the jury room. This creates a problem in identifying the different jurors during the entire 95 minutes of the film. Thus, the film’s quality would be enhanced by assigning the jurors different names.
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