.The Trial of the Chicago 7 Review: Based on the infamous trial of 1969, charging seven (originally eight) individuals of Title X of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 that made it a crime to cross state borders with the intent to incite a riot, or to conspire so. The film covers every important detail of the trial which lasted more than 6 months with little flashbacks to the events of 1968 which brought us here. It’s astonishing how the film itself was a 2007 project with rumors being stars such as Will Smith, Heath Ledger being a part of the cast but lucky or unluckily The Writer’s Guild strike of 100 days forced the project to kneel and ultimately be abandoned to be finally worked upon during the pandemic and ultimately get itself a release on Netflix.

So, here’s us telling you all the good and bad about the movie so that you could decide if it’s worth your time or not. We will be discussing all the key elements such as cast performance, premise, direction, writing and others. So, without further ado lets’ begin,


The Trial of the Chicago 7 Review: PLOT

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Review

The plot lacks no element, it has drama, suspense, comedy … in short all forms of emotions. Though most movies like these are considered boring this one is different. For not a single moment I left my seat. Yes, that’s how interesting it was. The movie could have easily lost track but it didn’t. It was also very subtle in its representation, not much sugar and spice was added. In a way, those subtle, minimalistic form pricked me as I could relate it with some of the events that we all have witnessed in India in recent years. Netflix has done a tremendous job featuring The Trial of the Chicago 7

The story starts off with the ignition of a trail from the office of the US Attorney General based on the chaos and riots of 1968 in Chicago during the Grand Convention of the Democratic Party. Eighth individuals representing different groups who came together to organize a protest against the policies opted for the Vietnam War. The protest was strategically organized during the Convention at Chicago so that they attract attention from the media and democrats present in the Convention therefore expanding their reach.

They were denied all permits except for one and were subject to surveillance by the FBI and local police forces. Some of which led to the provocation which further led to chaos concluding with violence and riots. Some say it was pre-planned by the police forces while some say it was a conspiracy planned in the disguise of protest. Since it was an anti-war protest needless to say most of the mass was skeptical of the leaders.

The infamous The Trial of the Chicago 7 lasted for more than 6 months with a lot of drama such as a public mockery of the unjust Judge Hoffman and the system, the purest form of racism towards one of the defendants Booby Seale (leader of Black Panthers) denying even basic constitutional rights to a form that it turned inhumane, an alleged state-sponsored assassination, tampering with the jury and many others that will keep you stuck to the screen over the course of the film that is Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7


Cast from The Trial of the Chicago 7

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Review

The leading cast includes Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, Alex Sharp as Rennie Davis, Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin, John Carroll Lynch as David Dellinger, Noah Robbins as Lee Weiner, Daniel Flaherty as John Froines Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale. Others include Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Fred Hampton, Mark Rylance as William Kunstler, Ben Shenkman as Leonard Weinglass, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Richard Schultz, Frank Langella as Judge Julius Hoffman

The list is long, I know but that makes each character stand out. Some big names are part of the cast, definitely so it’s highly usual to expect a brilliant performance, and here I’ll give the film 5 out of 5 stars. Each character is well defined and each one of them is a method artist. Each character has an internal conflict of its own and that provides depth to the Netflix Original The Trial of the Chicago 7. The leading prosecutor is not sure if the trail is true to the law but anyways carries on to serve his duty as summoned.

Eddie Redmayne aka Tom Hayden has moral principals and respect for the system and is an aspiring student plus politician but is on the edge during the trial. The trial and its elements challenged him to come out of his zone of morality to break certain rules to overcome the corrupt forces of the system.

Something similar is depicted by another character of David Dellinger played by John Carroll Lynch, someone who has roots deep into the principle of non-violence and sole believer of the Constitution solely. But circumstances forces to lose his calm and ultimately rant upon the system in open court after six months of unjust trial ultimately leading to hitting one of the guards on the scene. There are many such scenes such as one where Abbie Hoffman and Tom Hayden fight over whether they need a cultural change or win the election. It leads to another scene where Hoffman praises Hayden over his choice words and ideologies.

I also very impressed by Jeremy Strong and John Carroll Lynch’s performance. Both have been given a strong yet comedic role to play. Their political satire hits you hard while making you laugh at the same time. Some of the original events were re-made. Such as the scene where Judge Hoffman comes on the record during the very start that there is no relation between him and Hoffman and how Hoffman responds. I ain’t going much deeper as you can understand so as not to spoil your experience.


Direction, Cinematography, and Writing

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Review

Let’s just present a standing ovation to Aaron Sorkin. He’s the one-man army pulling the show single-handedly. Hats off man, RESPECT. There’s no The Trial of the Chicago 7 without Aaron Sorkin. There is no single point where I found any dialogue too much or over the line. It was just appropriate as it should be. Each character and each scene is simply represented by the writing. I mean if you close your eyes for once you will feel it all whatsoever. The emotions will flow freely as if pure black magic. After all the script has been written and re-written god knows how many times. It has been in for a decade now and no douth its perfectly splendid (secret reference).

Though there are places where I find the direction to be a little off the hook. The emotions could have been pulled a little hard. The film picked a very simplistic approach at times, suffocating it. There should have been little more open space to breathe and that it all in then ultimately take it all out in the form of raw emotions. Therefore it can be said I loved the writer Aaron Sorkin more than the director Aaron Sorkin


Final words from The Trial of the Chicago 7 Review

So, here was our The Trial of the Chicago 7 Review if you are expecting an action-filled dramatic 2 hours then this is not for you. But if you want to watch a film based on absolute true events with no added spice and are a fan of non-fiction then The Trial of the Chicago 7 MUST be your pick. I’ll come out to say this that The Trial of the Chicago 7 will be the talk for years to come and will bag many awards pretty easily.

Watch the movie HERE

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Anubhav Kumar Das

Anubhav Kumar Das

Anubhav is the owner of Forever Pieces. He is a published author and poet. He is a part-time freelance writer and maybe found strumming the guitar for gigs on festive weekends. Besides all these, he is also an exhibited artist and photographer.

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