The Errors And Gaps In The Criminal Justice System In The Film 12 Angry Men
12 Angry Men aims at exposing the mistakes and flaws in the criminal system. The film is about 12 men with different personalities who affect the case. The film is entertaining and fun, but also touches on issues such as racism, family grudges, and the possibility that the court might be “bought”.
The movie begins with racism. In this movie, the juror number 10 is most blatantly racist. From the very beginning, juror #10 tries to figure out who’s against him and who’s with him. He repeatedly says, “who is with me?” This tells us he has a hatred for people. Every time he was asked to explain why he thought the boy that he sent to die was guilty, his response was always the same. He responds “he is among them” which means that he believes the boy is guilty because he does not look like him. In the later part of the film, he begins to berate the other jury members for voting guilty on the boy because he was “one of them”. The other jurors have enough and leave the table. Juror #10 is now the only one with these beliefs. Juror #10 comes to this realization in the film. The audience can see how a single racist juror could have a major impact on the case. The case outcome might have been different if the juror had not changed their minds.
This film also has a strong theme of grudges. Juror number three is a good example of this. Juror no. 4 is the only juror who has any proof to back up his claim that the boy has committed a crime. Juror 3 tells us in a light manner that his son left home at the start of the movie, but this seems insignificant. Juror #3 starts a rant at the end of film, screaming about the boy’s guilt. He looks into his wallet to see a photograph of his son, and begins crying. He then changes his verdict from guilty to innocent. We can infer that he had a grudge towards the defendant, but not because of the boy’s guilt. He is angry because he perceives his son as the defendant. It could be the other way around. Imagine that jury member #3 (the grudge-holder) was angry with his father. This would make him more likely to vote for the defendant. Grudges can be deadly if not managed.
Money is a big factor in the trial. The film is replete with discussions about why the lawyer of the defendant did not raise so many important points. This message comes out a great deal in the movie when the jury discusses the case. The answer given is that the attorney was not interested because he didn’t get paid much. The jury members talk about the fact that the lawyer for the prosecution was very involved in the fight, while the attorney for the defendant was not. This case shows that money, no matter the size of the case, can have a significant impact on its outcome. If the defense had been able to afford a better lawyer, the jury would never have voted 11 to 1. Juror 8 wouldn’t have to be the “knight in shining armour.”