A Timely Tale
90%Overall Score

Streaming now on Netflix

When we look at American history, the Vietnam war was instrumental in bringing about a revolution. Americans truly got together and put their foot down to stop the war. One of the incidents during this movement were the riots in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. Different groups like students of the Democratic Society, Youth international party, Black Panthers, and Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE) got about 10,000 protestors to Chicago to protest against the war. The official permissions for this peaceful protest had been denied, and yet that didn’t stop the protesters. While the police were trying to stop the protests, a riot broke, and eight people were arrested on charges of inciting violence. Thus started the trial of the Chicago 7.

A relevant tale in today’s times

2020 saw another demonstration in the USA by the people who were angry with the system. The thoughts expressed by the people in the movie are not very different from what the people are fighting for even today. Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), the only black accused got a separate trial because he did not have a defence counsel. Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch), Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins), and John Frois (Daniel Flaherty) were charged together and were represented by the renowned Civil rights activists and lawyers William Kuntsler (Mark Rylance) and Leonard Weinglass (Ben Shenkman).

The odds are stacked

A lot of times during the movie, you will hear the term political trial and the way writer and director Aaron Sorkin, has narrated the story, it seems like one. The lead lawyer Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is asked expressly to go for the maximum sentence by the then Attorney General John H. Mitchell (John Damon). Even Judge Julius Hoffman (Frank Langella) seems to have some pre-existing bias against the defendants when we see him not allowing them to make their points.

Non-linear storyline for the win

The movie starts with a lot of information. We see real news snippets leading up to the riots. We are introduced to the characters, and then we see them on day 1 of the trial. The movie from that point goes back and forth as we see events of the day in question with the proceedings of the trial and Abbie Hoffman somewhere in the future talking about the trial. At no moment, any of these feel confusing. A lot of events in the movie we see mixed with the actual footage that helps the message hit home.

WATCH OR NOT:

The actors come together to narrate a compelling story that will leave you with tears. Aaron Sorkin has taken some artistic liberties but never forgotten that this was about the war. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a timely and important film that you should not miss.

Director: Aaron Sorkin
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Jeremy Strong, Noah Robbins, Daniel Flaherty, John Damon
Language: English
Streaming on: Netflix

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