Theme Development in the Film 12 Angry Men

Essay add: 16-03-2016, 11:53   /   Views: 188
Theme Development in the Film 12 Angry Men

In the movie 12 Angry Men a verdict of not guilty was given to the boy after the fact that apparently all the jurors except one thought that the boy was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. All of the key evidence presented in the court was rejected by the jury, which led the jurors to have a reasonable doubt about the boy’s guiltiness. I will present this evidence in chronological order and support why there is a reasonable doubt that would lead each juror to change their view of the case. In my opinion some of the counter evidence presented was kind of weak, but the whole point of this paper is to show the trail of evidence to lead the jurors to a reasonable doubt.

The first key idea, and probably the most important, is that the boy was poor and couldn’t afford a decent attorney. He had a court appointed attorney who probably had many other cases to argue. This attorney had no attachment to the client; there was no glory that the attorney could look towards. The attorney would really have to believe in the client in order to deliberate the case properly. It was pointed out in the movie that the boy had a very poor attorney and didn’t ask the right questions. If the boy had a good attorney, he would of brought up all the points that countered the key evidence that some of the jurors pointed out.

There are a few points about the knife that would lead to reasonable doubt. One point made in the courtroom was that the person who sold the boy the knife said it was one in a kind. It would be highly unlikely that another person would have the same knife. However juror #8 went to the area where the boy lived and bought the same exact knife from a pawnshop. This would prove that the knife wasn’t one of a kind, it was fairly common. This means that anyone could

have bought the same knife and used it to kill the boy’s father. This evidence proves that the knife that the boy purchased wasn’t necessarily the murder weapon.

An interesting question was brought up by one of the jurors. Why did the boy show the murder weapon to his friends just a couple of hours before the murder actually occurred? If he were planning on killing his father then he wouldn’t show it to his friends, where it could easily be identified after the murder occurred. The murder weapon is the only thing that could link the boy to the murder. It just doesn’t make sense to me that the boy would show off the murder weapon hours before he supposedly murdered his father. At this point of the movie these three points leads juror #9 to change his vote to not guilty.

One of the ideas pointed out by one of the jurors was motive. The father was noted to have an antisocial personality. He was in prison for crimes unknown. He was a drunk who liked to gamble and was always around “tough” guys and always got into fights with others. As far as motive, anyone of the people who the father was in contact with could have had a motive to kill him. He could have cheated someone out money while gambling, or beat someone up who wanted revenge. This proves that the boy isn’t the only person who would have a motive for killing the father.

In the courtroom, the old man testified that he heard the boy yell out “I’m going to kill you!” then he heard the body hit the floor. It was also proven that the old man supposedly heard this while the L-train was passing just outside the window of the apartment. Juror #8 said that he use to live next to an L-train, and when it passed it was so loud that he could hardly hear himself think. How could the old man hear the boy say, “I’m going to kill you!” with the noise of the L-train passing by. Juror #6 refutes the evidence that it would be nearly impossible for the old man to hear this, because he worked in a house next to an L-train and said it would be too loud. Even

if the old man did hear the muffled voice, how was he so sure that it was the boy’s and not someone else’s?

One idea that juror #9 pointed out was that he thought the old man might be lying. He made the accusation that the old man looked lonely, starving for attention. The old man probably has had no recognition all his life, and after 75 years he finally gets attention. The juror said that because of the attention the old man was getting, he made himself believe what he witnessed that night just so he could be listened to. This does seem to question the old man’s testimony. At this point in the movie juror #5 changes his vote to not guilty.

One interesting point brought up by juror #11 was why did the boy return to the murder seen 3 hours after it happened. If he really did commit the murder, wouldn’t he be afraid to go back to the murder seen because of being caught by the police. I know if I murdered someone and there was an eyewitness I surely would not return to the murder seen for any reason. It doesn’t make sense for the boy to return to the murder seen if he knew that there were going to be cops there to arrest him. This does lead up reasonable doubt about the boy’s innocence and juror #11 changes his vote.

Another point that was brought up dealt with the old man’s testimony. According to the old man he woke up to hear the boy yelling, and as soon as he heard the body drop he claims it took 15 seconds for him to get up and walk 55 feet to the door where he saw the boy running down the stairs and out of the apartment. The old man had a bad limp because of a stroke he had, he even needed assistance in the courtroom. Juror #8 conducted a little experiment by timing himself walk 55 feet with a limp. This experiment showed that it took 42 seconds, which was much longer than 15 seconds. I believe that the old man really didn’t see the boy actually run out, but only heard him run down the stairs and assumed that it was the boy. The old man’s testimony actually is only an assumption, which would lead to reasonable doubt about the boy’s

guiltiness. At this point in the movie juror’s #2 and #6 change their votes based on the evidence presented.

One thing that confirmed the boy guilty was the fact that he could not remember the movie he saw the night of the murder. The fast that the boy could not remember the movie makes perfect sense. When the boy returned home for the night to discover his father dead, he was interrogated by the cops in the next room and obviously under extreme emotional stress. If I saw a parent dead and I was interrogated, my mind surely would not be on the movie I saw. Also, it was noted that the boy and his father were involved in a heated argument and the boy stormed out to go to the movies. While in the theater the boy’s mind could have been entirely focused on the conflict he just had and not on the movie, thus having no recollection of the movie. Juror #8 proved that it was logical that the boy couldn’t remember the movie by asking juror #4 what movie he saw two days previously. Juror #4 could not remember what movie he saw.

One key testimony brought up was that of the psychologist who administered a psychological test on the boy. The test revealed that the boy had homicidal tendencies. However, one of the jurors commented that anyone is capable of committing murder, and that any one of the jurors could take the same test and reveal homicidal tendencies. I do believe that anyone in the world is fully capable of murder, and have subconscious homicidal tendencies. Just because a person can show homicidal tendencies doesn’t mean they are going to kill someone.

The type of stab wound on the father was another topic of discussion among the jurors. According to the movie the stab wound was made in a downward motion into the chest. If the father was over six inches taller than the boy then how could the boy stab the father in the chest at such an angle. One of the jurors brought up that the boy could use the knife overhand and stab the father at such an angle. However, juror #5 comments that the knife was a stiletto and it was

made to be used in an underhand motion the way experienced people did in knife fights. Since the boy was an experienced knife fighter, it would only make sense that he would use it in this fashion. At this point jurors #7, #1, and #12 change their votes to not guilty.

During the movie juror #9 comments about the marks on the woman’s nose. Juror #4 can relate to this because he wears eyeglasses and he has the same exact marks. The marks could have only appeared through continued use of glasses, however the woman wasn’t wearing glasses in the courtroom. She testified that she actually saw the boy commit the murder through the L-train. Her whole testimony relies on her vision, and now her vision is in question. During the night of the murder the woman claims she was asleep and woke up to see the boy stabbing his father. If she was asleep, it would only make sense that her eyeglasses would be off. Who goes to sleep with glasses on? In my opinion she only saw a blur and assumed that it was the boy who killed the father. With this evidence juror #4 changes his vote because he says that he now has reasonable doubt about the boy’s guiltiness.

These twelve points I have listed show the progression of reasonable doubt about the boy’s guiltiness. At first I thought that the best kind of evidence in a case was eyewitness testimony. This movie changed my opinion showing that eyewitness testimony can be fallible. However, there was other key counterevidence in the movie that was kind of weak, which would seem that the boy was guilty. Nevertheless the point of the paper was to discuss the evidence that leads the jurors to reasonable doubt.

Article name: Theme Development in the Film 12 Angry Men essay, research paper, dissertation