Movie Review: The Trial of the Chicago Seven

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is an article "The Trial of the Chicago Seven" by Marc Primo

Release date: 25 September 2020 (USA)
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Language: English
Production Companies: DreamWorks Pictures, Cross Creek Pictures, Alibaba Pictures, Marc Platt Productions, Amblin Partners
Producers: Stuart M. Besser, Matt Jackson, Marc Platt, Tyler Thompson

The Trial of the Chicago Seven

This is an article “The Trial of the Chicago Seven” by Marc Primo

Release date: 25 September 2020 (USA)

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Language: English

Production Companies: DreamWorks Pictures, Cross Creek Pictures, Alibaba Pictures, Marc Platt Productions, Amblin Partners

Producers: Stuart M. Besser, Matt Jackson, Marc Platt, Tyler Thompson

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SPOILER ALERT?—?In traditional Alan Sorkin fashion, audiences get another fun rollercoaster ride of fascinating characters, interesting twists and turns, and the very definition of a made-for-television real-life-drama (in how the film is woven into a commercial film that it’s sometimes hard to believe the scenes really happened historically) in Netflix’s latest socio-political offering The Trial of the Chicago 7.

With a powerhouse cast led by Sacha Baron Cohen (who also made waves recently with his Borat sequel during election season) as Abbie Hoffman, Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne as Tom Haden, Mark Rylance as Defense Counsel William Kuntsler, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Federal Prosecutor Richard Shultz, and the amazing Frank Langella as Judge Julius Hoffman among many others, Sorkin’s latest somehow mirrors the recent spate of present-day social unrest while giving us an inside look at the historic miscarriage of justice in the celebrated 1968 Vietnam War protest hearing. The film is absolutely both fun and relevant today, given the aftermath of Black Lives Matter movement’s campaigns and the recent U.S. elections.

The events tell audiences what follows after the year’s Democratic National Convention in Chicago wherein eight protesters from different groups were arrested and charged for inciting a riot. Among those who were soon tried in a courtroom drama that’s as animated and tight with its repartee as anyone could ever see on the screen were leaders of the Youth international Party, Students for a Democratic Society, the Yippies, and many others, with the leader of the Black Panther Bobby Seale (played by a spectacular Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) shouting foul for being associated with the group and being made to appear as the prime inciter.

The cast carry the film well all throughout with stunning performances that gave viewers the liberal and pure nature of activists of the past and how they ridiculed blind justice with determination. It involved great pacing to lecture audiences of what is transpiring and where it could potentially lead them. With Sorkin’s typical wit and humor, The Trial of the Chicago 7 succeeds in bringing out an easy-to-follow narrative of a quite complex subject, but unfortunately with less merits in the end.

While the film also serves as a fitting homage to pop history, it also relies on the heroics of the people against the powers that be without successfully telling us who the real villain in the story is. Still, we get good human nature shining off on a rather tumultuous timeline, including Hoffman’s comic relief while staking his own life for his generation’s stance on the Vietnam War, or how Shultz attempts to carry out his duty for the country without being biased, or how Haden reserves his criticism for humility to reverberate what these men are collectively fighting for.

Sorkin’s signature script also reminds us of his past work in the West Wing or The Newsroom, albeit with an entirely different feel and outcome. In its totality, viewers are educated on how the law’s practice of excessive force on the streets and in the courtroom has some who are in power cradling it as a norm, while those who are receiving the other end of the stick stand up and fight for the masses’ rights. And as the whole world watches, the men’s defense is reciprocated with chants of justice in melodramatic fashion, regardless if we can or can’t overturn things as they are. Today and quite frankly, that much is true whether we like it or not.

 

 

 


Submitted: November 18, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Marc Primo Reviews. All rights reserved.

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