Sunday, November 15, 2020
The Trial of the Chicago 7
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a historical legal drama film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. It features an ensemble cast that includes Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Daniel Flaherty, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Noah Robbins, Mark Rylance, Alex Sharp, and Jeremy Strong. Sacha Baron Cohen stars as Abbie Hoffman, founding member of the Youth International Party (Yippies), while Eddie Redmayne is Tom Hayden, a leader and one time President of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
The film follows the Chicago Seven, a group of anti–Vietnam War protesters charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. As the film tells the story of the trial, it flashes back to the events that took place during the Convention. In a number of key flashback scenes, Sorkin interweaves actual footage from 1968; the effect is very powerful.
I think that we forget how tumultuous the 60s were. 1968 was a year of violence, political turbulence and civil unrest, particularly riots in more than 100 cities following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated on June 5. The Democractic Convention was held in late August.
About a third of the way through the movie, Sharon was vocally negative about the film. As the story started to use more and more flashbacks, she warmed considerably. I give the film a thumbs up. Neither Sharon or I were thrilled with Mark Rylance's performance. I have held a grudge against him ever since he beat out Stallone for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2016.