The World (Should Be) Watching Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7

Julien Neaves, Editor

Like Dave Chappelle, I like to keep it real with you folks. I had this film on my list to review since OCTOBER. Yeah, procrastination really is the thief of time. I kept putting it off because it seemed like a very heavy film, and I just wasn’t haven’t been the mood for heavy (hello there, Thankskilling). But I finally bit the bullet and checked it out. And man, I didn’t know what I was missing!

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a legal drama recounting the trial of the Chicago Seven, a varied group of anti-Vietnam War protesters who were charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago (whew!) The film features an ensemble cast including Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat franchise, Hugo), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, The Danish Girl), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman, Watchmen TV series) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises). It is directed by longtime screenwriter Alan Sorkin who penned such hits as A Few Good Men and The Social Network.

HOFFMAN: Look at this crowd! I want to high five them all! JERRY: Yeah man. I’m really high too

This movie is just fantastic. All the actors deliver pitch perfect performances including Cohen as irreverent, brilliant Abbie Hoffman (a role for which he has been stirring up some award buzz), and veteran actor Frank Langella as the highly biased Judge Julius Hoffman (no relation).

Remember when I was worried this movie would be too heavy? Well there are times the film does get heavy, especially the scenes of police brutality, and the treatment of Black Panther chairman Bobby Seale (Abdul-Mateen), but I was also surprised by the abundance of humour. I laughed repeatedly during this film, notably at Cohen/Hoffman’s antics, and the kangaroo court nature of this insane trial.

INNER MONOLOGUE: I wonder if he was born an amoral bastard, or he became one with time and practice

Unlike some other films (cough cough Thor Ragnarok cough cough hack cough) Chicago 7 knows when to cut the comedy and get serious, and kudos to Sorkin to balancing the two tones so well. And the film is not only important for its historical content but for also shining a light on a massive perversion of justice. After watching this and When They See Us it makes one very concerned about how many times there was little justice in the US judicial system. Food for thought, there.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a brilliantly acted, surprisingly funny, and deeply impactful film. My recommendation comes with zero reservations. And don’t do like me and stick (hesitate/procrastinate) to watch it.

Julien’s Score: 9 out of 10

For Alice’s review of Priyanka Chopra’s The Sky is Pink, you can click here. And if you’re on Facebook you can like and follow Redmangoreviews here

Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film, creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.

I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.