• Joshua Buck

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Review

The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

Director and writer: Aaron Sorkin Producer: Stuart M. Besser

Genre: Drama, History, Thriller

This film mainly happens in a courtroom with 8 men convicted of multiple acts of breaking the law surrounding a riot. The film introduces all the characters individually going to the march and then it cuts to the court. The audience is left unaware of what has happened at the march and it is the perfect hook to draw the audience in and another perfect moment of scriptwriting that Aaron Sorkin has managed to produce.

This film very much challenges the flaws in society and the political system back in the 1960s. Shown by the mad judge who almost seems to be mocking the system that he is a part of. The film is incredibly clever in making the system look stupid with its wittiness and has a very quick pace to it. This is only enhanced by the chemistry of the actors. Sacha Baron Cohen was brilliant in this movie as Abbie Hoffman. An excellent performance that captured the heart and theme of this movie.

The cast was diverse and represented all aspects of the left political spectrum. This film did a very good job of reminding us that this case was political and not just a lawyer case.

‘That's right, we're not goin' to jail because of what we did, we're goin' to jail because of who we are!’

It is dialogue like this that reinforces the political course of this trial and cements that it is the politics that has forced these 8 individuals and not their actions.

I liked how there were 3 main arcs and, Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch) and Yahya Abdul- Manteen the 2nd played by Bobby Seale. Tom Hayden had the arc of being torn apart and trying to fit into society and but fighting for what is right. David Dellinger a self-contained non-violent man who as the case goes on tries to contain himself and eventually cannot stop himself from being violent. Then there was the arc of Yahya Abdul- Manteen the 2nd a black man being unable to have representation in court and insists on having a lawyer for him. It is an eyeopener to how the black man got treated in court in comparison to the white men who were doing the exact same things in court.

Do I think this film will cement itself in history? No. But I did enjoy it. It is definitely another film that showcases Aaron Sorkin's talent as a scriptwriter and Sacha Baron Cohen as an actor that really does deserve to be taken seriously and recognised for the talent that he is.

I rate this movie 3.5/5.

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