Saturday, October 3, 2020

The Trial of the Chicago 7 - Movie Review

The Movie: The Trial of the Chicago 7

The Director: Aaron Sorkin

The Cast: 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, Jeremy Strong

The Story: The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

The Review:
It's been very interesting these last few months to see how historical events like this one are so relevant to what is going on in today's world. This story is basically about the government's efforts to maintain oppression against it's people and the lengths those in power will go to protect that power. Aaron Sorkin goes to great lengths in showing just how blatantly corrupt people can be within a system that is already built to tilt the scales in their favor. As a writer, he is a master of dialog and especially in a court room setting which is where most of this movie takes place.

A dramatic feature like this wouldn't be complete without an all star cast and that is absolutely one of this movie's strong points beginning with Mark Rylance in what might be his best performance to date and that really is saying something. Along for the ride are Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seal, and Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin each of whom are just fantastic in their roles and have multiple standout moments. Other standouts are Frank Langella as the notorious judge Julius Hoffman and Michael Keaton as the formal US attorney general both of which probably garner the strongest reactions of anyone in the movie.

The one downside to the movie is that it sort of just meanders along and ends up feeling a lot longer than it actually is. I could have swore it was at least two and a half hours but, credits included it clocks in at just over two. The length is necessary because there are so many characters in the story and the trial plays out over several months real time so a lot needs to be explained and a good portion of the movie is filled with flashbacks so yeah. Lots of information to get through. That being said I feel like it's worth the effort mostly thanks to the strong performances.

The Verdict:
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a solid B. The story is very important as an historical comparison to what we are going through right now and several of the acting performances could and should see some action come awards season.

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