12 Angry Men is a movie about a homicide case where the jury has to decide on whether the young man is guilty or not. The movie presents an interesting case where the majority seems to have been wrong. At the beginning, there is an 11:1 ratio for the guilty verdict and in the end, these numbers are turned to 1:11 for the same verdict. This means that one juror is able to change the minds of the other ten jurors by systematically getting them to open up to possibilities of reasonable doubt in relation to the presented evidence. While the performance of the jury was a collegiate affair, the facilitation strategies applied by juror 8 were effective in helping the rest of the jury to question the case deeper rather than being swayed buy what was on the surface.
In 12 Angry Men, what starts out as an easy case where the defendant is automatically guilty ends up as a very confusing situation where each of the eleven jurors finds something to question in the evidence that was presented. At the beginning of the film, the jurors agree that there is enough evidence to put the young man away for killing his father. The jurors are particularly swayed by the idea that children are often ungrateful to their parents and they can end up killing them in a heated moment. During the deliberations by the jury, the eighth juror gets the rest of the jury to reconsider their perspectives and personal biases to get to see that the evidence was circumstantial. However, this juror does not tell the jury what to think off or what to see. He mainly asks them questions that lead them into the doubts that later change their minds on the guilty verdict. In the end, only one juror sticks with the guilty verdict and it is probably due to his strong personal bias in the case.
Facilitation Strategies Used In the Film
Two jurors stand out as leaders in this film and these are juror 10 and juror 8. Juror 10 is a well-dressed businessman who is having issues with his son and he persistently argues that the boy in the case is guilty. Juror 8 is on the other hand the only juror who seems not to have any personal biases in the case. He is convinced that the young man is innocent but he mainly questions the evidence rather than asserting his own convictions into the case. The main facilitation strategies applied are domination and sharing. Other strategies that can also be seen in the film include avoidance and collaboration.
At the beginning of the film, juror 10 starts out with inflammatory remarks that suggest his position in relation to the case. He strongly advocates for the guilty verdict, citing that there is enough evidence to not only place the young man at the scene of the crime but also to suggest that he had not been in good terms with his father prior to the crime. These could be considered as just remarks but they also qualify as a domination strategy where the individual tries to plant thoughts and influence the mindset of the rest of the team. In the first few minutes of the deliberations, this strategy actually works as ten other jurors agree to the guilty vote. Domination limits the capacity of the other jurors to think clearly without being biased by the facilitator’s thoughts and perspectives. In the case, juror 10 was convinced and he had the leadership stance to convince the other members of the jury of his convictions.
Juror 8 then practices sharing as a facilitation strategy when he chooses to share his concern after he finds himself on the odd side of the near consensus. Having been the only one with a not guilty vote, he sets out to share his reasons for the vote. Rather than telling the rest of the jurors what to think, he simply asserts his own thoughts, trying as much as he could to lay down his doubts in a way that the rest of the jury could understand and also apply in their own thoughts. By sharing his own uncertainties, this juror is able to create doubt in the minds of the other jurors until they also start questioning the evidence. By sharing the loopholes that he has identified in the case, he is able to facilitate a deeper analysis of the situation unlike juror 10 who only tries to assert their authority and decision upon the rest of the jurors. Sharing doubts in this case opens the minds of the other jurors to the possibility that the evidence was not sufficient for the conviction that they were about to hand out. This juror only shares his doubts, without claiming particularly that the defendant is not guilty. He asserts at some point in the film that he is only questioning the credibility of the evidence in light of the weight of the charges being placed and the possible sentence.
This is a strategy where the individuals in question seem to avoid facing the facts and instead agree to the available ideas. In the very first few minutes of the film, one can see that all the other jurors are too willing to comply with the persuasions of juror 10. They do not even try to think through the case and question the evidence until juror 8 speaks up. It can be seen that it is almost up to juror 8 to get these other jurors to think and speak out their minds and although they end up doing so, they started out avoiding the who thinking part of the jury process.
Juror 8 is also the chief of the collaboration strategy in this film. After discrediting the evidence and the arguments presented by juror 10, juror 8 encourages the rest of the jurors to share their thoughts and concerns about the case and the evidence. Juror 10 mostly takes a hard stance about his convictions but he is consistently encouraged to present his views. At some point, the antagonism is seen between juror 10 and juror 9 because juror 9 feels that the thoughts shared by juror 10 are rather ignorant. This is at the point where juror 10 argues that they do not owe the defendant anything because he was already getting a fair trial, which is expensive and paid for by the taxpayers. This assertion sparks a heated situation where juror 9 calls juror 10 ignorant before going on to pint out some more flaws in the evidence that would be used to convict a man that at this point they believed was innocent. Working with the other jurors enables juror 8 to achieve his goal in ensuring that the young man does not get convicted for a crime that he most likely did not commit.
Facilitation strategies help a leader in a group context to enable a fair discussion on the subject at hand. In this particular case, juror 8 is seen as more successful in his strategy where he uses collaboration and sharing to engage the other jurors and thus easily sway their perspectives on the case. Juror 10 on the other hand applies domination, a strategy that works where there is only one leader capable of dominating.