By Michael Hernandez
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a look back at a shameful episode in American history that is currently showing on Netflix. I don’t think it’s coincidental thay Netflix and writer/director Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the screenplays for Molly’s Game, The Social Network and A Few Good Men, would release the movie at such a historic time in presidential politics. The film shows how little progress has been made and the corruption that still exists with corrupt politicians since the 1968 Democratic convention until today.
The movie shows the turbulent times of the 1960s and the public’s opposition to the Vietnam war. The Chicago 7 consisted of leaders of several different militant groups including Tom Hayden (played by Eddie Redmayne) who was later elected to the California Senate Abbie Hoffman (played by Sacha Baron Cohen), and Black Panther leader Bobby Seale (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Their prosecution was a plot of newly-elected President Richard Nixon to show protesters what would happen to people who would oppose the war.
The trail itself was an absolute scam of criminal justice with a judge, played by Frank Langella who was teetering between being corrupt and being senile. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the federal prosecutor who follows his marching orders from the U.S. Attorney General, but it’s obvious that he sees the unfair trial going down in front of his eyes.
The different members of The Chicago 7 all have different philosophies of how to protest the war, but they all have to come together to defend themselves against the unjust charges. The movie is a real teeth gnasher as we see the unfairness of the judge affecting everything the Chicago 7 try to do to defend themselves.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a good reminder of how a corrupt government can affect the lives of its citizens. I highly recommend you find the time to watch it. The movie is rated R with a run time of 2 hours and 9 minutes.
On my “Hollywood Popcorn Scale,” I rate The Trial of the Chicago 7 a JUMBO.