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12 Angry Men – A movie review

12 Angry Men would remain my favorite for all times for the theme and the storyline and cast everything. Set up against the post war period of 1957 America, the movie was made in B&W.
An 18 years old boy, brought up in slums, mother died when he was only 9 was tired in the court for murdering his father.
It was a first degree murder, two witnesses, an old man and a middle aged woman have claimed that they saw him stabbing his own father in the chest and insisted that there’s no denying the facts.
Those days in the American judiciary system (I’m not sure if this custom is still in practice), a jury, comprising of 12 stranger men from different states, of varied background and profession, of whose identity nobody knows, were summoned by the court to decide the fate of the defendant.
Well these 12 men are first briefed on the case, they were made to watch the court proceedings for 3 consecutive days then they were locked up in the jury room to decide the fate of this boy in question.
However, the verdict is to be unanimous. The vote should be twelve-to-zero, either in the favor of guilty or not-guilty. With that, these 12 men are locked up in the jury room, with no contact with the outside world. Anything they require, they just need to knock the door and the man guarding the door hands the things in.
The men then sits down to talk despite the souring heat of the room since the old fan the room possessed has long ceased to function. At first, the pleminary vote was called out. 11 men voted guilty. Had it not been for this one man, they could have made the decision then but there’s 1 man who voted not-guilty. He’s the protagonist of the movie, Henry Fonda (one of my fav. Hollywood actors), when the other 11 men argue with him that the boy is plainly guilty, he says they are sending this boy to an electric chair, that they cannot decide somebody’s life in just 5 minutes. They could talk for an hour supposing they are all wrong.
And talk they did. Throughout the movie we see heated argument of the jury men. Personal prejudice, carelessness, frustration, impatience were some of the feelings the men had to endure for the hours they were locked up in that room. The lone man who voted not-guilty initially has this guilty conscience what if they are sending this innocent boy to an electric chair just because the men are not willing to talk it out.
Well this protagonist, with his thoughtfulness, tactics reason with others, argue and slowly gain the confidence of other men that there’s a room for a doubt in this case. With his detective-like brain, we now see more votes turning in favor of not-guilty. Some because they genuinely believed in the reasons, some because they are impatient go their ways, get home not bothered with what happens to the boy.
In these 12 men we see very varied characters. Each man is different from the next as it’s in reality. Some are sensitive, some with cool business-like attitude, some are nasty and loudmouth, some bother less but towards at the end of the movie, we see all the men turning their votes in favor to not-guilty because of the specific details and the possible mistakes that might have gone unnoticed by the defendant lawyer, as explained by the protagonist. Even the nasty, excitable man had to change his vote to not-guilty because he couldn’t prove the defendant otherwise. We see this man acting like he has some personal grudge towards this boy he has never seen before in life except in the court few days ago. But at last we see the protagonist forgiving this man because he had differences with his own son and this hatred to his own blood has blinded his judgment and developed prejudices to all sons. This man has taken the case personally and wanted the defendant hanged.
Well with the unanimous verdict of “not guilty” the men all exits the room to go their ways, to their old life, but changed and learned.
What happens to the defendant, an 18 years old boy, is obvious. Though not shown in the movie, we assume he’s a free bird since the jury found him innocent of the murder of his father. If not him, who was it that murdered this boy’s father 3 months ago? Nobody knows…

Comment (1) on "12 Angry Men – A movie review"

  1. Ya I watched that movie and even I found that movie interesting and worth watching. The best part is that the whole movie is finished in a single hall….

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