The Trial of the Chicago 7

What was supposed to be a peaceful protest turned into a violent clash with the police. What followed was one of the most notorious trials in history.

Year: 2020
Certificate: 15
Runtime: 2hr 10m
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Sacha Baron CohenEddie RedmayneYahya Abdul-Mateen IIJeremy StrongMark RylanceJoseph Gordon-LevittMichael KeatonFrank LangellaJohn Carroll LynchAlex SharpJohn DomanBen Shenkman

Information Page:

In 1968, the Democratic political party who were in power during the Vietnam war, held its annual convention in Chicago. During this convention Anti-Vietnam War and Anti-Government protests took place. During the protests there were many clashes between police who were trying to display a show of strength and protesters who believe it was their right to peacefully protest. For more than a week people protested and clashed with law enforcement. Many people were seriously injured during the protests/riots and somebody needed to be held accountable. Although those on trial were not working together, the US government felt that all 7 people and the groups they represented worked together to organise the protests and therefore they were charged with conspiracy, crossing state lines with intent to incite a riot, and other charges related to anti-Vietnam War and countercultural protests. Crimes they could only be charged for if it could be proven that they were working together.

The seven people on trial were David Dellinger (Played by John Carroll Lynch), Thomas Hayden (Played by Eddie Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Played by Alex Sharp), John Froines, Lee Weiner, Jerry Rubin (Played by Jeremy Strong) and Abbie Hoffman (Played by Sacha Baron Cohen). There were originally 8 people on trial. Bearing in mind these all were members of different groups and factions. Originally tied to this case was also Bobby Steele who was the leader of the Black Panther movement (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Bobby Steele insisted he was only in Chicago for a conference which he spoke at and then returned home. He was eventually removed from the case and the Chicago 8 became the Chicago 7. I will add at this point that the performance of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and how Bobby Steele was treated as part of this process were both incredible for very different reasons.

The movie is non-linear, meaning that we see scenes of the trial and they are intertwined with scenes from the protests. This helps us get a great insight to what each group were hoping to achieve and how their paths crossed. It works well as a contrast to how they have to work together as a group during the trial.

“The Trial of The Chicago Seven” is filled with great performances. Each cast member plays there parts brilliantly and, although I didn’t know the story to judge how close they were to the people they were portraying, the ensemble really worked. A great ‘straight’ performance from the usually comedic Sacha Baron Cohen, made me want to see him in more serious roles. *Makes a mental not to check out The Spy.*

Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin who is well known for writing films such as “A Few Good Men”, “The Social Network”, “Moneyball” and numerous TV shows, it is no surprise that the script is brilliantly written and the film is directed very well. My only criticism if I HAD to find one was there sometimes felt that the film was written/filmed in such a way that there were visuals or lines that they wanted to include and draw focus to and therefore they felt a little forced. Maybe it was just me that felt that, so I would be interested to know your thoughts.

I had no previous knowledge of the true events this film is based on and it took nothing away from my viewing experience. a film I  recommend watching and it has lead me to read up more on the subject.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

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