The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)


“That’s right, we’re not goin’ to jail because of what we did, we’re goin’ to jail because of who we are! ” – Abbie Hoffman

Number of Times Seen – 1 (17 Oct 2020)

Brief Synopsis – After rioting in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention, 7 activists are arrested and put on trial for conspiring to cause the riot.

My Take on it – I have always been a fan of both Aaron Sorkin and of American political history.

This film gives us both because the events of this political story took place slightly over 50 years ago are crafted so well by Sorkin as both writer and director.

Sorkin is able to create such an amazing story that takes place almost entirely in the courtroom.

The choice to tell this story mainly in the courtroom works so well because of the way that that they allow for things to progress.

They use flashbacks when characters are discussing past events among one another or while they are on the witness stand.

The film has an excellent cast led by Sasha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, John Carrol Lynch, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Shenkman, Frank Langella and Michael Keaton.

They are each able to make their characters come to life and we can see how crazy and absurd the events and this trial are as things quite rapidly spiral out of control.

We get to see the role of politics in the rioting during the convention and the subsequent trial which is quite shocking to watch.

The film is even more powerful because despite it being based on true events, they actually use some of the real transcripts of the trial itself which shows how much things got out of hand along the way and it remains so fascinating to watch it all happen.

The view of the outside world in the late 1960’s is shown so well by the events in this courtroom and we get to see how so many things were affected by the actions in this trial which is so powerful, yet political as we watch it all unfold.

This is one of the best films of 2020, if not THE very best (so far).

I look forward to seeing this film garner numerous nominations at the Oscars this year (whenever that will happen).

Bottom Line – Perfect vehicle for Sorkin who is able to create such a powerful story just from a courtroom. The cast is superb and they all are easily able to make us believe how absurd the events were as they continue to spiral out of control along the way. The film clearly shows how much politics played a role in the riots and the trial itself.  The choice to tell the main story solely from the courtroom, while giving us more details via flashback works really well in establishing things in a poignant and powerful way. The fact that this film is not just based on real events but uses the actual transcript of the trial is quite amazing and poignant to watch.  Even though most of this film takes place in the courtroom, they are able to show us how events during the trial were so powerful and political throughout. One of the best films of 2020, so far! Highly Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – When Steven Spielberg was attached to direct, he was planning on meeting with Heath Ledger to discuss the role of Tom Hayden. Ledger passed away the day before he was scheduled to meet with Spielberg. Spielberg also wanted Will Smith to play Bobby Seale. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10)

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3 thoughts on “The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

  1. Pingback: Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8 (1987) | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: MovieRob Monthy Roundup – October 2020 | MovieRob

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Movies of 2020 | MovieRob

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