NEW TO NETFLIX! I’ve never been one to be on the Aaron Sorkin bandwagon. Anytime the masses call a single person brilliant, I’m naturally skeptical, and I avoid their work like the plague because of its pretentious nature. In other words, tell me someone is brilliant and I’m turned off immediately. That said, after watching The Trial of the Chicago 7, I’m on board the bandwagon (probably playing the triangle or kazoo).
The Trial of the Chicago 7 refers to the eight men put on trial in federal court for starting the infamous Chicago Riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The men were Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch), Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), John Froines (Danny Flaherty), and Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins).
“…refers to the eight men put on trial in federal court for starting the infamous Chicago Riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.”
If that’s not a big high profile cast already, then add federal prosecutors Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Thomas Foran (J.C. Mackenzie), defense attorneys William Kunstler (Mark Rylance) and Leonard Weinglass (Ben Shenkman) and lastly, Judge Julius Hoffman (Frank Langella). As this film is written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, its real star is the script.
Briefly, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is primarily a courtroom drama, where the government was attempting to prosecute a movement. The eight men barely knew one another, particularly Bobby Seale (a member of the Black Panthers), who was in Chicago for forty minutes giving a speech at a protest rally and then left. The actual “7” were there to protest the Vietnam war.
The trial itself was remarkable in that it felt more like a chance to punish political dissenters rather than prosecute an actual crime. In other words, I don’t like what you have to say, so I’m going to dig, dig, and dig until I find something that might stick in court (look up “due process”).
"…one of those political films that will help shape one political point of view one way or the other."