A review of the new film “The Trial Of The Chicago 7”

The late 1960s was a terrible time in the United States with race riots and anti-war demonstrations. The film “Detroit” powerfully depicted the outcome of a riot in that city in 1967 and this movie looks at the aftermath of a demonstration in Chicago in 1968. Eight activists – one was severed from the case – were prosecuted by the Nixon administration in a farce of a trial that shamed this democratic nation. The demonstration involved a number of political groups and the trial lasted months but writer and director Aaron Sorkin has done a masterful job in synthesizing the events and focusing on the issues. 

There is such a richness of talent in this work. Besides Sorkin who is himself an Academy Award winner, the cast features two Academy Award winners, Eddie Redmayne and Mark Rylance, as well as three Academy Award nominees, Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Keaton, and Frank Langella. In this very American story, no less than four of the leading actors are British: the aforementioned Redmayne, Rylance and Cohen plus Alex Sharp.

I saw this powerful film during the period between the US presidential election and the news four days later than Trump had been defeated. The divisiveness and intolerance and cultural clevage of 1968 have their profound echoes in contemporary America. As Sorkin has put it: “The script didn’t change to mirror the times. The times changed to mirror the script.”

Wikipedia page on the Chicago Seven click here


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