The Trial of the Chicago 7 Movie Review

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Movie Review
Awards season is upon us - in one form or another - as the fall festivals are virtually underway and prestige titles are starting to be released. If you follow the Oscar trajectory, most studios put their movies out in the last quarter of the year, hoping to gain accolades and shiny statues for their selected titles. As with everything else this year, it's going to be a much different run-up to the Oscars. For a shot of normalcy, Aaron Sorkin's big, star-studded "The Trial of the Chicago 7" has entered the race and is likely to be a big contender at the Oscars (which have been pushed to April 25, 2021).
"The Trial of the Chicago 7" has been kicking around Hollywood for some time. The movie was set to be directed by Steven Spielberg in one incarnation before becoming Sorkin's second directorial feature. He previously helmed the 2017 movie "Molly's Game," which showed that the seasoned screenwriter had a lot of work to do before being deemed a successful filmmaker. Sorkin's latest is a massive step forward for him as a director. It also features all the cornerstones of what makes his screenplays so good.

The movie is based on the true story of the group of seven activists who were tried for conspiracy to start a riot in 1968, ahead of the Democratic National Convention. As the story opens, "The Trial of the Chicago 7" gives us a glimpse of what the temperature of the country was at the time. It then focuses on the time five months after the convention when the trial is getting ready to begin, and we meet the Chicago Seven on trial: Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), Jerry Rubin (recent Emmy winner Jeremy Strong from Succession), Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins), John Froines (Danny Flaherty) and David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch). Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, another recent Emmy winner for HBO's Watchmen) was part of the group, originally branded the Chicago Eight, before his case got separated from the rest.

Courtroom proceedings and a politically charged atmosphere are Sorkin's specialties, and they are on full display throughout his latest. As the title suggests, the film is heavily focused on the trial, but it cuts back-and-forth to show us what led to the riots during the convention. In lesser hands, "The Trial of the Chicago 7" would feel episodic as its timeline transitions around, but editor Alan Baumgarten cuts the film masterfully and with urgency. It never feels like any scene is rushed or out of place, and he does what any skillful editor should do and creates the pace of the movie.

Outside of the main cast, Frank Langella stars as Judge Julius Hoffman, who oversees the case. He relishes every moment to be the strict, no-nonsense judge, ready to hold anyone in contempt of court with the smash of his gavel. Mark Rylance plays William Kunstler, the lead defense attorney, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Richard Schultz, one of the lawyers on the prosecution team. Everyone in the cast gets a scene or two to shine and really deliver their standout moment, including Michael Keaton, who appears in two captivating scenes. Of the Seven, Abdul-Mateen II continues to show that his star is on the rise after the success of Watchmen, and he holds a scene with ferocity. Redmayne really comes alive in the back half of the film, delivering some of his finest work.

There are many players moving about the story, contributing to the true ensemble nature of the film. Each actor works in tandem to make "The Trial of the Chicago 7" a strong picture, but there isn't enough time spent with any singular character to fully commit emotionally. It's a minor hang-up because everyone is so good, and Redmayne does get some great, rousing moments in the last act, but it can be a bit distancing at times without ever having the chance to commit entirely to one character in the movie. Every viewer will have a different favorite performance from the cast and each selection would be entirely justified.

Sorkin doesn't have his next directorial effort lined up, but "The Trial of the Chicago 7" lends some goodwill going into what he does next. "Molly's Game" felt overlong and unwieldy, featuring several scenes that could have been easily edited out of the movie. "The Trial of the Chicago 7" moves with an electric purpose, and it will be hard to escape the parallels the project has to offer to today's culture.

"The Trial of the Chicago 7" begins a limited theatrical run starting Sept. 25. It will stream on Netflix starting Oct. 16.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 Movie Review The Trial of the Chicago 7 Movie Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Sunday, October 04, 2020 Rating: 5


Post a Comment