12 Angry Men Review Essay Sample
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- Category: review
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12 Angry Men Review Essay Sample
The movie was rather interesting. I found it amazing how one person could change minds of so many other people so effectively in quite a short amount of time. Th movie starts with 12 juries sitting in a court, listening to the judge talking about the case of a high degree murder. A 19-years old boy from slum reportedly stabbed his father to death. The judge asks the jury to retire into the Jury Room in order to come up with the right decision – whether the boy is guilty or not.
The twelve juries enter the Jury Room, sit down around a table, and start voting. The first voting round ends up with eleven juries voting for “guilty“ while one jury – Jury #8 – voted for “not guilty”. His decision starts a passionate session full of quarrels.
The Jury #8 believes that it is not fair to sentence someone to death so easily without further consideration of the whole case. He wants to talk about it a little more.
Jury #7 gets offended very quickly, saying that he did not vote for “guilty” just because it was easy for him. He claims that nothing could ever change his mind.
Jury #10 says that no one can trust people living in slum. He seems to be very malignant towards slum people, which offends the jury #5 because he grew up in slum as well.
Jury #9, the oldest one, thinks that it is a terrible thing to believe that no one from slum can be trusted. He believes that dishonesty is not a “group-character thing”.
Jury #3 thinks that 19-years old boy is old enough to commit a murder.
Then, they decide to comment on the case on by one.
The Jury #2 says the boy is guilty. He does not give any good reasons to support his belief. He just thinks that the boy is guilty because it is “obvious”. When the Jury #8 tells him that the evidences were not so strong to prove his guilt, he still thinks the boy is guilty. However, he does not seem to be too convinced.
The Jury #3 refers to a witness – an old man living under the boy’s apartment, who heard loud voices, a shout “I’m gonna kill you, father!”, and then saw the boy running downstairs and through the hall. He called the police, and they found the dead body. The jury believes that this is enough of proof. Also, he says that the boy apparently lied by saying he was at the movies at that time.
The Jury #10 also mentions another witness – a woman, who claims that she actually saw the boy killing his father from the window of her apartment located right across the street. Jury #8 wonders why he believes that woman, if she is from slum as well.
The Jury #5 wants to pass. He seems to be unsure about what to say. It turns out that he has lived in slum for his whole life as well, and is a little bit sensitive to this topic.
The Jury #6 does not know. He does not say any reason why the boy should be labeled as “guilty”.
The Jury #7 starts proving that the boy is guilty by naming his other “criminal records” (stealing a car, stabbing someone’s arm).
Finally, it is the Jury #8’s turn. He wants to consider all the evidences again. Starting with the murder weapon – a knife – he wants to see it again. He thinks that it is possible that someone else stabbed the boy’s father after the boy lost his knife. After a moment later, he believes that the knife does not have to belong to the boy because someone could have the same looking knife. When no one believes that theory, he pulls out another knife, which looks exactly the same as the knife by which the boy’s father was killed. He bought it in a small shop in the slum area where the boy lives. This makes the Jury #5 ensure about the boy’s guilt.
The Jury #7 starts being nervous because he wants to leave already, but Jury #9 says that one night is nothing for making the right decision compared to the fact that a possibly innocent man can die because of them.
The Jury #8 suggests another vote with a statement that if it’s still 11 to 1 in favor of “guilty”, he will subscribe to “guilty” straight away as well. However, another vote for “not guilty” appears. They all think that the Jury #5 is the one, who voted like that because he comes from slum, too. However, it turns out that it was actually the oldest one, the Jury #9.
All juries keep leaning on the witnesses’ testimonies. The Jury #3 gets really irritated, and ends up offending the Jury #8 by starting playing a Tic-Tac-Toe game. This, however, helps the Jury #8 to realize another hole in one of the witnesses’ testimony. He realizes that an elevator train was passing by at the very second when the murder occurred according to the woman living across the street.
He points out that hearing the shot could not be possible because of the noise the train made. Moreover, he considers the phrase “I’m gonna kill you” to be irrelevant because many boys shout this to their father in their states of anger, but it does not really mean that they seriously want to kill them. All of this makes the Jury #5 change his vote to “not guilty”.
As another thing, the Jury #8 wants to see the diagram of the old man’s apartment (the one, who claims to see the boy running down the hall). He tries to reconstruct the whole situation, when the old man went all the way from his bed to the front door, opening it just in time to see the boy. The time turns out to be longer than originally stated. The Jury #3 disagrees and argues again.
They all do another voting round. The results are 6 for “guilty” and 6 for “not guilty”. As a next step, they try to reconstruct the way the boy must have handled the knife when killing his father. The Jury #5, who comes from slum, helps show that the boy could not hold the knife as it was previously stated. The jury knows how people from slum hold these knives because he, unfortunately, has seen it many times before.
The Jury #7 suddenly changes his vote for “not guilty”, but does not have any good reason for this action. He just wants to leave as soon as possible because he has tickets to a theatre tonight. Another voting round occurs with the results of 9 votes for “not guilty” and 3 votes for “guilty”.
The remaining evidence, which unable the case to be “solved”, is the testimony of a woman from the apartment located across the venue, who saw the boy from her bed. It turns out that she wears glasses; therefore she could not see the boy clearly without them.
In the end, the only unconvinced one is the Jury #3, who still refuses to admit the boy’s innocence. After bearing the pressure of being the only one left, he finally snaps and join their “not guilty” side.
Jury #1 – He acts like a sort of a chairman, who takes notes from the whole meeting. He always sums up the votes, but does not really say his opinion and beliefs. He just calmly changes his mind after some time due to reasonable proofs. He seems to be rather neutral.
Jury #2 – He believes in the boy’s guilt straight away without any further thoughts about it. He does not even have any good reasons to support his belief.
Jury #3 – He is a very strong character. He is the toughest one to convince about the boy’s innocence, resulting in him being the very last to agree with others. He is very hot-headed and rather violent – a trait he has gained throughout the times when he was an executioner. Plus, he had some problems with his own son in the past, which ended up in not seeing him in 3 years. Due to these circumstances, he stubbornly supports his belief that the boy is guilty until the very end, even after all the evidences were proved false.
Jury #4 – Throughout the whole story, he is very composed, and reasonable. He does not put any emotions into his opinion on the boy’s guilt or innocence. He just leans on the evidences, and tries to figure out what really happened. After everything what witnesses said was proved to be false, he admits that the boy is innocent, and changes his vote to “not guilty” without any objections or emotions.
Jury #5 – At first, he believes that the boy is guilty, but does not give any reasons behind his decision. Later, it turns out that he comes from slum as well. Based on this, he probably considers the boy to be guilty because he has seen murders like this many times before. However, after some of the evidences were proved to be false, he changes his mind quite easily since he knows how the murder must have occurred.
Jury #6 – He does not seem to have any own opinion on the case from the very beginning. He simply votes for “guilty” because he assumes that everyone will vote for that. He actually seems to be very open-minded to this case as he considers everything that’s being said by others in order to make up his mind. He even helps figure out the whole scenario how the murder occurred.
Jury #7 – He seems to be very impatient. The truth is that he’s got some theatre tickets for that night. Therefore, he wants the meeting to finish as quickly as possible in order to be able to attend the show. As a result, he even changes his vote to “not guilty” very quickly when he assumes that the meeting is not going to end soon. However, he seems to be convinced about the boy’s innocence at the end.
Jury #8 – He is the only one, who votes for “not guilty” right from the beginning. He simply does not want to sentence someone to death without further consideration of all facts, evidence, and circumstances. He tries to thoroughly look at all the evidence with clear mind and critical thinking. In the end, he ends up convincing everyone about the boy innocence.
Jury #9 – He is the oldest jury. At first, he votes for “guilty” quite unsurely. Later, he is the first one to change his original vote for “not guilty”. It seems like he changes his mind only to support the Jury #8 because he “admires” the fact that he stands up for the boy’s innocence all by himself. However, throughout the story, he is more and more convinced about the boy’s innocence as well.
Jury #10 – He is a very grouchy man, who does not trust any slum people. He wants the boy to be punished because he believes that everyone from slum is dangerous. When he tries to support his belief about the boy’s guilt by leaning on the testimony of the woman, who “saw” the murder, he is questioned by the Jury #8 that if he does not trust any slum people, he should not trust the woman either since she is one of them.
In the second half of the movie, he has a big outburst, shouting that this is all nonsense, and the boy is clearly innocent. It seems like he experienced something very bad (or even tragic) thanks to slum people. Maybe someone from his family was killed by someone from the slum, resulting in him being so hateful.
Jury #11 and Jury #12 – These two juries are not very strong characters in the movie. They do not really put any emotions, or biased opinions on the case. Somewhere halfway through the story, they change their votes for “not guilty” as well.