The film is not just about seven men that are falsely implicated with several charges, it also highlights police brutality, injustice to the black people, the inaccuracies of the system of law and how several powerful men can control it in whatever way they like.
In 1992 Rob Reiner made one of the best courtroom drama with Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and several other popular Hollywood actors called A Few Good Men. The film was written by Aaron Sorkin and whoever has watched that film, must remember a monologue by Jack Nicholson that follows right after Tom Cruise says “ I want the truth.” No matter how many times you watch that scene you are bound to get goosebumps. This very well proves that Aaron Sorkin is a master in weaving dialogues and with his new release on Netflix, he certainly proves it again. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a terrifyingly relevant courtroom drama packed with powerful performances and brilliant dialogues.
Set in the late 1960s, the film tells the story of seven men who were all involved in the protest against the Vietnam War at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. These seven men were arrested and charged for inciting the riots and influencing the crowd to take violent actions. They all are from different organizations but for the prosecution, they all come the same umbrella. A hippie Abbie Hoffman, his partner Jerry Rubin, an intelligent, law-respecting man Tom Hayden, a pacifist David Dellinger and the leader of Black Panthers, Bobby Seal. The government doesn’t have a case against them whatsoever but they certainly feel threatened by the ideas these men propagate, so they hire assistant district attorney Richard Schultz to represent the government and charge these 7 men under the Rap Brown Law. Rap Brown Law states to arrest whoever crosses the line and has intentions of inciting mischief against the country.
The film is not just about seven men that are falsely implicated with several charges, it also highlights police brutality, injustice towards the black people, the inaccuracies of the system of law and how several powerful men can control it in whatever way they like. The film isn’t built to represent a linear court proceeding but it masterfully cuts at various sequences and shows how thrillingly the ‘riot’ is staged. But, the film shines when the characters who are practically in the same team, having similar ideas of revolution, fight and argue. They all have the same goal yet their methods are different and two leading characters Hayden and Hoffman fight because Hayden thinks that Hoffman’s approach doesn’t deserve to be the face of progressive politics. This in a way highlights that the major problem with the leftist(s) is that they keep fighting among themselves even after being on the same team.
Each and every actor gets a good amount of space to shine, I especially liked Mark Rylance’s performance as the defense lawyer William Kunstler. There’s a scene where he brings a good witness to the court but the confessions of that witness are devoid of presentation to the jury which literally makes you very angry. From Moneyball to Social Network , Sorkin has written some great screenplays and this is just another addition to the list. Overall. The Trial of Chicago 7 is a thrilling and powerful courtroom drama worthy of all the love.
Cast – Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Frank Langella, Michael Keaton.
Director – Aaron Sorkin
Verdict: A Must Watch.