Professor Sandra Hurtes
Literature in the Modern World
26 November 2012
12 Angry Men directed by Sidney Lumet: Justice System
Twelve Angry Men is a movie set in a jury deliberation room where the twelve male members of jury meet to decide upon the innocence or guilt of a young man accused of stabbing his abusive father to death. A unanimous vote is necessary to either convict or acquit the accused.
Initially, eleven of the jury members decide upon a guilty verdict and subsequently the film moves into the jury's analysis of the evidence of the case, a procedure that creates tension amongst the members and creates doubt on the evidence of the case. For some of them justice is a game. One of the jurors wants to get his jury duty over with so that he can watch an upcoming baseball game that same evening. Others simply use the opportunity to take out and dump their own prejudices on the poor boy on trial.
The great thing of this movie is that we are left guessing. At the end, we still don’t know whether the guy is guilty or not, but we do agree after listening to all the discussions and the evidence presented that there does seem to be room for reasonable doubt.
The film also exposes us to those jurors in the room who openly express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings about the case. This jury room should reflect the diverse community in which we live. After seeing Twelve Angry Men, my view is that, although the system is imperfect, justice can still be achieved. We breathe a sigh of relief when we see that one man wants to challenge what eleven other jurors have considered settled at the beginning. We see that the system works and justice is achieved when this man’s uncertainty and reasonable doubt slowly become every man’s uncertainty and reasonable doubt. In the final analysis, we all pull for that one courageous man who instigates the doubt in the room and opens the eyes of the blind to the truth.