THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 Review — The Whole World is Watching
In her The Trial of the Chicago 7 review, Lisa Johnson Mandell says the Aaron Sorkin written and directed film will be an instant classic.
It isn’t easy these days to make a fresh, riveting and resonant legal drama. Some of cinema’s most memorable films have focused on trials (To Kill a Mockingbird, Judgement at Nuremberg, A Few Good Men, 12 Angry Men) and entire television franchises (Law & Order, CSI, NCIS, etc. etc.) have been based in and around the courtroom.
Even with the combined efforts of filmmaking masters Steven Spielberg and Aaron Sorkin (who both wrote and directed), plus the marketing acumen of Netflix, it would be a huge challenge to make The Trial of the Chicago 7 work. The fact that it had been in development for more than 14 years didn’t bode well either.
But low and behold, one helluva film has finally emerged. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is right up there with the best, a film for the day, a film for the year, a film for the ages. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is an instant classic.
A brief history lesson: Months after the Chicago riots that took place around the 1968 Democratic National Convention, a loosely associated but prominent group of Vietnam War protestors were accused by the U.S. federal government of conspiracy, inciting riots, and various other serious charges. Among them were prominent left-wing leaders including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger and Tom Hayden. The trial that ensued is the stuff legends, and hit movies, are made of.
It’s hard to decide whether it’s Sorkin’s scintillating script or the phenomenal casting that makes the movie. When you mix Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mark Rylance, Frank Langella and so many more with astoundingly adroit writing, magic happens. All are at the top of their game, each performance award worthy. How will the Academy ever decide?
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a rare bright spot in a year that has been absolutely devastating for film and audiences alike. As with the iconic chant that erupted during the protests, I can only hope “The whole world is watching!” because we’ll be all the better for it.
After reading this The Trial of the Chicago 7 review, can’t wait to see it? Find it on Netflix Friday, October 16.