The movie is about twelve jurors who have to work together to make a decision on whether the little boy, who is accused of murdering his father, is guilty or not guilty. They are expected to be in mutual consent for their decision to hold. Unity is vital as no single person is able to work alone.
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Much as the jurors may have different reasons why they will vote for either guilty or not guilty, but they must share them in order to come up with one resolution. The movie seeks to give the benefits of working as a group in matters which require diverse approach.
Initially we see all the jurors except juror no. 8, have concluded that the boy is guilty without giving much scrutiny to the evidence provided, they want to give their verdict as quickly as possible. In a group some of the decisions need secrecy, since other people will just follow the majority.
This is evidenced when juror no. 8 pokes some holes on the evidence given and challenges the other jurors, he does not get anybody to support him, but when he suggests for a secret ballot vote, in which he does not vote, it results to another not guilty vote (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957). Some jurors: for example juror no. 7, have their person commitments and would want the process be cut short no matter the outcome, therefore, individually will not give fair judgment.
There is a broad perspective of looking at issues when working as a group than when working individually, as can be noted from the movie, the reasons for doubt whether the boy is guilty, brought forward by juror no.8 are not very evident to the other jurors, and he has to explain this to them.
As the discussion goes on more points come clear, this can be seen when juror no.2, who was in the guilty camp realizes that the wound was a downward stab, which is doubtful given that the accused is one foot shorter than the victim according to juror no. 5 (Fonda, Rose & Lumet, 1957).
Working in a group can be time consuming to certain individuals, and in other instances interferes with people’s schedules, as the movie points out when juror no.3 becomes impatient with the process, juror no. 7 just changes his vote so that the voting will be faster to allow him attend a baseball game to which he has tickets (Donnelly, 1997). The decisions seem irrational but other members will not allow that happen; for example, juror no. 11 is seen to question the move of juror no.7.
Objectivity is also enhanced within a group than it could have been under individual circumstances. It is evidenced from the movie that juror no.10 has a negative attitude about people from slums, as he thinks they kill each other time and again, and therefore anybody from slums with murder case is guilty. Juror no.3 has a bad relationship with his son, which makes him believe that the little boy committed the crime, assuming that fathers and sons usually have poor relationships (Donnelley, 1997).
In the end, their subjective reasons for convicting the little boy do not carry the day, as they are convinced otherwise hence treating the case differently from their personal experiences, this is clear in the film. It is also evident that in a group members; for example juror no.8, will insist on what they think is true, this leads to others trying to reason it out, eventually reaching a mutual non-subjective position (Fonda, Rose & Lumet 1957).
If the jurors were working individually, the boy could have been condemned to being a culprit for a crime he did not commit and another example of people who go down the books of history, to show how unfair the course of justice can be to others.
Since they were working as a group this was not case, various minds were put together and they unraveled the mystery, they were able to get several points of ambiguity in the evidence and therefore saved the head of the boy. Additionally, they were able to come out more bonded than before as can be seen when juror no. 8 gives juror no.3 his coat and exchanges names with juror no.9.
Fonda, H., Rose, R., & Lumet, S. (1957). Twelve Angry Men. United States: United Artists.
Donnelly, A. T. (1997). Twelve Angry Men. Los Angeles: MGM Television Showtime Networks.