The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Review

In Chicago in 1968 a protest occurred during the Democratic National Convention and we see the story behind the charges and the seven men who were accused of starting the riots.


Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, we are taken on a fantastic journey into the story and behind the courtroom. Something that Sorkin does so effortlessly is engaging screenplays that have you hooked from start to finish. That is no different in this film and was certainly one of the reasons why I was more than looking forward to watching this film.

The activists involved in the riots were from all different groups. Tom Hayden was leader of the Students for a Democratic Society. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were leaders of the militant Yippies. The seven men that were seen as being the ringleaders were in court alongside Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers, who was not involved at all so he was unofficially an eighth member.

Judge Julius Hoffman was in charge at the trial and it didn’t take very long to realise how much of a joke he was. Not appearing to understand the case and then making things up as he was going along. It made for some comedic scenes which helped to highlight that this was not being taken seriously by some people.

The main thing all of the groups and people who met in Chicago before a riot started all wanted the same thing, to protest against the Vietnam war and stop young American’s being sent to death. I felt the senes with Rennie Davis writing down on his ever growing list the names and ages of the soldiers who had died that day was very powerful and it was amazing to see what that was used for in the end.

My knowledge around this was absolutely nothing and I went in blind which was not an issue given the level of detail given within the film. It was something that I felt gave it an added bonus of learning about the issues and build up surrounding it all. I actually quite enjoy this when a film is based on a historical event, something I am looking forward to in the future is being able to remember an event on film and seeing how it differs to memories.

The cast is utterly outstanding and all of the roles were very impressive. I have to hold my hands up and say that Eddie Redmayne was very good, as I am not his biggest fan and always found his acting to be very wooden and emotionless. But that style worked very well for this film. Sacha Baron Cohen was probably a scene stealer alongside Jeremy Strong bouncing off each other in the best possible manner was a joy to watch. Mark Rylance as lawyer William Kunstler was also impressive and he really does just pick the best film roles, considering he prefers to do his acting on stage. He has been one of my favourites over the past few year. A big surprise was Michael Keaton, he really has been in so many fantastic films in recent times. Frank Langella was also impressive as the Judge given the bumbling nature I felt as though it was a very impressive performance. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is certainly getting many different roles and has been across all genres which is great to see.

I love a good courtroom drama and this one certainly ticks all of the boxes in that sense, impressive performances with some amazing dialogue. I can also see this as being perfect awards season bait, it just ticks so many boxes in that sense. Not that it is a bad thing of course.

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