The Trial of the Chicago 7 (\N)

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (\N)
  • 15085
  • R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release year: \N ()
  • Running time: \N min
  • Original Title: The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Voted: 15085

In Chicago 1968, the Democratic Pary Convention was met with protests from activists like the moderate Students for a Democratic Society led by Tom Hayden and the militant Yippies led by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, which led to violent confrontations with the local authorities. As a result, seven of the accused ringleaders are arraigned on charges like Conspiracy by the hostile Nixon administration, including Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers who was not involved in the incident. What follows is an unfair trial presided by the belligerent Judge Hoffman (No relation) and prosecuted by a reluctant but duty-bound Richard Schultz. As their pro bono lawyers face such odds, Hayden and his fellows are frustrated by the Yippies' outrageous antics undermining their defense in defiance of the system even while Seale is denied a chance to defend himself his way. Along the way, the Chicago 7 clash in their political philosophies even as they learn they need each other in this fight.

  • Relevant and intense by 8

    Strong acting performances that give life to an old story, as relevant in 1968 as it is now in 2020. The movie has High intensity and I wouldn't be suprised if it is awarded any prizes.

  • Fiery, relevant depiction of an infamous trial by 8

    Legal historians and courtroom drama fans will have a field day with this Aaron Sorkin film which depicts the trial of eight radical protesters who made a name for themselves in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. A disparate array of left-wing activists who took it upon themselves to demand an end to the Vietnam War instead became involved in the ghastly legal aftermath of the riots and thus faced criminal charges for allegedly instigating the violence. This film portrays the sham trial that took place.

    Jospeh Gordon-Levitt, who has not been in anything good for a long time, is solid as the lead federal prosecutor who reluctantly takes on the assignment of trying to put the radical protesters behind bars. Mark Rylance's modest, down-to-earth demeanor makes him a rather peculiar fit to portray defense attorney William Kuntsler, the famous defense attorney well-known for his outspoken courtroom oratory and publicity hound antics. Frank Langella is flawless as Julius Hoffman, the judge who presided over this trial and whose combustible temper and tenuous mental faculties made him a ready target for ridicule from many, including those involved in the case. Edie Redmayne is excellent as Tom Hayden, the more pragmatic but equally passionate protester and defendant. Sacha Baron Cohen and Jeremy Strong are both stellar as defendants Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, respectively. Finally, Yahya Abdul Mateen II is eloquent as Bobby Seale, a Black Panther Party co-founder and the lone African-American defendant in the case.

    There are discreet details about the trial I was hoping the film would cover. There is no mention of Bobby Seale's many colorful nicknames he assigned to the judge. It mentions the poet Alan Ginsberg only as a fellow protester, when in fact he was also called as one of several celebrity witnesses. So was the musician Judy Collins who began singing an anti-war song during her testimony. These, however, are minor oversights because the fundamental essence of this circus of a trial is effectively captured in the film. Unlike much of Sorkin's earlier work, the dialogue in this film is less grandiose and more straightforward. There are less pyrotechnics and more re-creation here. I mean that as a compliment. It's the perfect portrayal of a trial which turned out to be a low point in the history of American jurisprudence. It also expertly captures the schism within the American left and how the idealists and pragmatists often locked horns even back in the 1960s. Gripping, frightening and instructive in today's world, it is not to be missed. Highly recommended to all.

  • *Sniffs* I smell an Oscar coming along. by 10

    I find that court related films, especially those based on actual events, carry the great risk of either ending up extremely intense or excruciatingly monotonous. This however, is one of the very few that pulls it off with ease in all aspects, to which also provides some unexpected humour (yes; mainly from Sacha Baron Cohen).

    Another part of the story I definitely didn't expect going in was how character driven it was, propelled by an absolutely extraordinary cast; who some should at least get some award recognition this coming season for when the time arrives.

    So far, this is probably my current favourite film to have released this year, despite the lack of competition.

  • Great writing, acting, and directing! by 8

    Aaron Sorkin's second feature gives us a spectacular film that is bound to be up for numerous awards. The movie starts slows but as it gains momentum the drama becomes more intriguing and exciting. Before going into a Sorkin movie you expect great dialogue but that does not make it any less impressive. The movie really shines when the trial is cut together with scenes from the streets of Chicago. The entire ensemble cast shines as more of their character is revealed as the story goes on. Overall the film packs the punch with political messaging needed in the divisive time of today. It is another great achievement for the esteemed writer.

  • A surprise treat. by 10

    I was pulled into this from start to finish. The extreme believability of this group of A listers made me feel as though I was there. One of the best films I've seen in my 68 years.

1Laurie MacDonaldproducer
2Walter F. Parkesproducer
3Scott Rudinproducer
4Aaron Sorkinwriter
5Brett Morgenwriter