12 Angry men is a 1957 movie directed by Sidney Lumet and produced by Henry Fonda, Reginald Rose. The duration of the movie is 96 minutes and the genre is crime, drama, and legal drama. The main purpose of the movie is it talks about the various baffling aspects of the lawful framework and the complex subject of prejudice. Further it explores various techniques of consent building and the problems faced in the process of making a judgment among people having varied personalities, which further intensifies the conflicts. It also portrays why skills like communication and honesty are important. Moreover it explores the power of a single person to provoke change.
Although made more than fifty years back and in black and white, twelve angry men and its characters have a striking significance and leave a deep impact to the world of today. Featuring Henry Fonda as the eighth Juror, this 1957 adaptation give us one of the best insights into the organizational behavior traits.
The film revolves around the observations, sentiments and rationale of twelve jurors having diverse characters. They are asked to make a judgment regarding a young man of eighteen year old on trial for a homicide, whether he is guilty or innocent. The guilty verdict implies a programmed capital punishment. The case from all the aspects seems to be open and shut. The deferent has a frail explanation: a knife, which he professed to have lost, is later on found at the killing scene. In the first round only Juror 8 casts a not guilty vote rest all the eleven of the twelve jurors immediately vote guilty.
At first, he bases his vote for the sake of discussion; after all, the jurors must provide a reasonable argument regarding why they think that the defendant is guilty. As the story unfolds, the movie rapidly turns into a study of the juror’s varied and complex personalities, interactions, and inclinations. The central conflict revolves around the attempts of eight juror’s persuading the other jurors that a “ not guilty” verdict might be an appropriate decision. The setting of the movie was of ‘The Jury room of New York Court of Law, 1957. A very hot summer day ‘
12 angry men was a film that plays with the psychological mind of the people and highlights various features of the organizational behavior. The three major themes conveyed in the movie are justice, innocence and class. The movie is adapted from the play. It wishes to convey the difficulties faced in attaining justice for the defendant. The difficulties faced are because of the personal biases and experiences and the other requirements that the jurors bring to the deliberation table. The director has been able to depict this wonderfully.
The film has its own qualities and shortcomings. The strengths of the movie include its stunning acting; splendid plot line which does not fail to grip the audience. Now and then a similar background of the courtroom may exhaust the viewers along with slow sound effects and visuals. As the jury of 12 men assembles to give their judgments on the young boy accused of murdering his father, they illustrate movement through the four stages of Bruce Tuckman’s Group Development Model of Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning.
Along with this model the movie also portrays the difficulties and cohesiveness that different jurors experience in order to make one single unanimous decision. Empathy is an important factor in emotional intelligence. Being able to connect with other people and understand them helps to identify different personalities as well as the dynamics of the group. Juror 8 was empathetic as he thought that an innocent should not be proved guilty just for the sake of it.
Self-management is the ability to control one’s emotions and act with honesty and integrity. The 3rd Juror had bad relationship with his own son, who whom he was no longer in contact. Thus we are led to believe that this is a contributing factor his prejudice against an eighteen year old boy who is accused of killing is his own father. Self-Awareness is the ability to understand one’s own emotions. Later on the juror is convinced as he realizes that he is just projecting his feelings about his own son.
The movie also shows Stereotyping. It refers to judging someone on the basis of our perception to the group to which that person belongs. Several jurors in the movie are shown to be racist. Juror 3 is found extremely opinionated, as throughout the story, he isn’t accepting any opinion different from his. He also brings his racial prejudices in the jury room. Later on during the discussion Juror 10 says that the boy has lived in the slum throughout his life and is capable of committing crimes. This shows that the Juror was not respecting the boy’s livelihood.
The concept of Perception is also seen throughout the movie. It is the process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions to give meaning to their environment. The way in which the Jurors perceive an eighteen-year to be guilty and gradually change their perception to not guilty. The Jurors had made certain perceptions from the starting which made them think him to be a culprit. One of the Jurors said that he was guilty as he belonged to a slum and thus cannot be trusted. This showed that the Juror had a perception for slum people.
The movies also provide us with insights of effective leadership. The juror 8 is the only one to vote ‘not guilty’ as he wants to have a discussion and doesn’t want the decision to be taken for the sake of it. During the deliberation he is convinced that there was a reasonable doubt. He empathizes and tries to put other jurors in an eighteen year old boy’s situation and provides strong argument that change votes of jurors from ‘guilty’ to ‘not guilty’. He was calm, composed and considerate about every single detail about the case.
Task oriented approach is also seen as Juror 8 doesn’t sick status or ego boost. He asks a lot of question in order to prove his point and motivates other jurors to analyze the evidence in a concrete manner. Change oriented behavior is seen in Juror 8 as He is the only one to vote ‘not guilty’. Later on when he is asked to justify his decision, he asks the other juror to view this case from different perspective. He also shows his discomfort that decision about the death punishment cannot be taken in five minutes.
The film also that how proper and effective leadership can minimize conflicts and integrate opposing views. This approach tells us to look at the different views as an opportunity to think from their perspective rather than thinking it to be a threat. This can provide the benefit of better and great understanding.
12 angry men is an outstanding film. It is a proof that, for a film to be great, it does not need extensive scenery, elaborate costumes or expensive special effects. It is a gripping depiction of one of the less glamorous parts of the United State’s Justice system. The jury in this film could be swayed against their initial verdict due to reasonable doubt. Discrimination and prejudice are also seen which back their decision of making a judgment. Most of the Jurors were able to write him off as the culprit just because he came from a lower socioeconomic class. In my opinion, the movie is incomplete as there was a reasonable doubt as to whether the culprit was the boy or not, so I would have voted not guilty.
I would recommend this movie to others and give it a “B” grade as it posses the ability to not only sustain interest but to command viewer’s attention for basically its entire running time within a setting of just one room. The camera is so fluid that one forgets that the story is centered in a jury room. The acting is top notch. The movie is thoughtful, well shot, amazingly scripted and fantastically acted masterpiece. The cast and dialogue make this film memorable and the film has some clear moral issues that are addressed.
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