Academy Award-winning Screenwriter-turned-Director Aaron Sorkin returns with the timely THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 and once again in full showy display, gives us exactly what we would expect of the Master Storyteller.
The Film set in the early ’70s, marks his sophomore effort as a Director. THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 centers on a group of seven anti-Vietnam protestors who stand accused of conspiracy and inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The Film examines frightening gaps in the legal system and the treatment endured by these protestors including Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Bobbly Seale (Yahyah Abdul-Mateen), Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong). While their intentions always were non-violent, we learn matters got out of hand quickly when the police had begun to use force. Even despite this being established, we witness how the system in place serves to protect the interests of the government and its patriarchal structure, as seen in Judge Julius Hoffman‘s (Frank Langella) antagonistic treatment of the defendants. Outrageously, we even witness Seale denied the right to represent himself when his lawyer falls ill and he also is ordered to be gagged and shackled in the courtroom.
Sadly, the Film not only speaks to the era it is set, but also the reality Americans are facing today amidst the Black Lives Matter movement and Sorkin couldn’t have made this statement in a more timely manner.
Sorkin empowers his sublime Cast with material to shine as the Film focuses much of its 130-minute runtime on legal process and the theatrics of the courtroom. It is a joy seeing Cohen harness his comedic talent in a way the steals literally every moment he is on-screen. Redmayne once again is phenomenal, centering the Film with his sophistication and moral compass.
If you don’t leave the Film feeling provoked about these realities of the past and today, you’re not paying attention. The Film even this early in the delayed Awards Season, figures to be a major factor ahead. THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 is in theatres now and on Netflix Friday, October 16, 2020.