Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a departure for the writer and director, who often indulges in a hazy idealism for American institutions
The Chicago 7 Trial is a courtroom drama where no one – not the characters, nor the viewers – expects justice to be done when the defendants take their seats at the start of the new Netflix film by Aaron Sorkin, the public already knows that the charges against them are ridiculous and the result of a political vendetta.The opening scene shows Richard Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell (played by John Doman) ordering Attorney Richard Schultz ( Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to convict the 1968 Democratic National Convention protesters, no matter how far he has to stretch the law
As a screenwriter and director, Sorkin tells the right story at the right time The Chicago 7 Trial debuts less than a month before Election Day, amid complaints that the Justice Department of President Donald Trump was deployed as a political tool The historical drama shows how a famous protest turned into a bloody police riot, images that resonate all the more viscerally after a summer full of headlines and videos highlighting the ubiquity police brutality in America Despite its period, The Trial of the Chicago 7 has a timely and timeless message: that Americans cannot always count on their leaders to pursue the lofty goals of truth and freedom
Sorkin’s latest episode brings together a remarkable cast of character actors to tell a crucial but bizarre moment in counterculture history The Chicago Seven were an amalgamation of political activists from various groups who had participated in the 1968 protests, including student leader Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), radical pacifist David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch) and lawless « Yippies » Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong) Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), co-founder of the Black Panther Party, was initially an eighth defendant, but his case was eventually separated from the trial Although many of them barely knew each other, they were charged by the Nixon administration with conspiracy and incitement to riot. They were presented to the public as a backpack of unwanted people, all determined to disrespect authority and their country in their own way.
Sorkin is, of course, quite a fan of audience drama.He first rose to prominence by writing A Few Good Men (first the play, then the 1992 film), which features what could be the most famous cross-examination scene of all time His recent Broadway adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird centers on the rape case Atticus Finch is fighting in court But unlike these works, The Trial of the Chicago 7 portrays little concrete legal maneuvering, given both the absurdity of the charges and the publicity-hungry nature of some of the defendants. This is a proceeding where, at one point, Hoffman and Rubin show up dressed in the judges’ robes and, when ordered to take them off, reveal police costumes underneath; This is a case where the presiding judge (a deliciously grumpy Frank Langella) was so biased against the defendants that he buried them under hundreds of contempt of court charges
The Chicago 7 trial is kind of a departure for Sorkin, who often indulges in misty-eyed idealism for American institutions. I loved The West Wing as much as the next person, but Sorkin seems to know that this Now is not the time for images of flags fluttering in the wind over a patriotic trumpet score Instead, in flashback, Sorkin focuses on darker images – like Chicago cops quietly putting their badges in their pockets. pockets before getting ready to charge, or the blood that flies when Hayden’s best friend Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp) is pummeled in the head without warning Sorkin loves flashbacks, and The Trial of the Chicago 7 moves forward and backward in time with practiced ease, gradually revisiting the events of the protests as the trial continues.
While audiences know from the outset that the outcome won’t be unfair, the film is still an animated watch Sorkin tells a story of community built from different strains of radicalism, especially appreciating the dynamic between comedian Hoffman and the hairier Hayden Cohen and Strong have the most fun with their roles, leaning on their exaggerated accents and puffy wigs, while heavyweights such as Mark Rylance (as defense attorney William Kunstler) and Michael Keaton (in as former Attorney General Ramsey Clark) rush to big scenes designed for attention rewards
Sorkin’s finesse defines him as a storyteller. His dialogue can bounce from character to character while still sounding as if it came from one person; At this point, viewers probably know if they love or hate his style Sorkin’s Best Scripts feature battles of ego and willpower in high-stakes worlds – think The Social Network (Internet), Moneyball ( baseball) and her exciting but grueling directorial debut, Molly’s Game (Illegal Gambling) In Chicago 7, I was occasionally annoyed by the soft self-assurance of her exposure, and the way every cross-examination ends with a strike line The late 1960s were a difficult and unsettling time for the country, and Sorkin almost made it a funny diorama But in the end, I had surrendered to the Hollywood veneer Chicago 7 is a particularly brilliant rendering of history, but Sorkin wisely emphasizes America’s failures, even as he celebrates the people who strive to fix them
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