12 Angry Men
“12 Angry Men” focuses on a jury’s deliberations in a capital murder case. A 12-man jury is sent to begin deliberations in the first-degree murder trial of an 18-year-old Latino accused in the stabbing death of his father, where a guilty verdict means automatic death sentence. The case appears to be open-and-shut: The defendant has a weak alibi; a knife he claimed to have lost is found at the murder scene; and several witnesses either heard screaming, saw the killing or the boy fleeing the scene. Eleven of the jurors immediately vote guilty; only Juror No.8 (Mr. Davis) casts a not guilty vote.
At first Mr. Davis’ bases his vote more so for the sake of discussion after all, the jurors must believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. As the deliberations unfold, the story quickly becomes a study of the jurors’ complex personalities (ranging from wise, bright and empathetic to arrogant, prejudiced and merciless), preconceptions, backgrounds and interactions. That provides the backdrop to Mr. Davis’ attempts in convincing the other jurors that a “not guilty” verdict might be appropriate. A huge feel of the film is gotten through the time period it took place in. People’s views on race were made very publicly within the jury. Many of them seemed to have personal vendettas against different races. They deemed the boy’s Hispanic race to be slum and nothing more than that. A universal problem that is shown in several ways throughout the film is personal prejudice getting in the way of judgment. Juror number ten’s reason for saying the accused boy was guilty was because he felt people from slums should not be trusted and that they kill one and another for fun. His prejudice lead him to discriminate against the boy initially by voting guilty earlier in the film, before being convinced in voting not guilty. This was during the civil rights era and all of that. We all know blacks weren’t treated equally and this makes it...
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