Image courtesy of Always be on the lookout
By Katie Van Lew
“Now it should be absolutely clear that anyone who cares about the integrity and life of America today cannot ignore the current war,” said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “If the America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy should read, ‘Vietnam.’ ”
The Chicago 7 trial, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin portrays the original Chicago 8 (later the Chicago 7) in their fight for absolution. In the case of the United States against David T Dellinger [et. al.], the Chicago 8s were charged with conspiracy and incitement to riot. Political activists, who were anti-Vietnam War, gathered in Chicago, Illinois at the Democratic National Convention in 1968 to protest the Vietnam War. The indicted activists were Bobby Seale (national president of the Black Panther Party), Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin (founding members of the Youth International Party, also known as the “Yippies”), Tom Hayden and Rennie Davis (leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society), David Dellinger (head of the National Mobilization Committee to End the Vietnam War, also known as “Mobe”), Lee Weiner and John Froines.
Sorkin’s film is the rough diamond of the year 2020. Captivating from the start, the intro flashes between historical scenes, including President Johnson announcing the increase in the number of men recruited, the “Beyond” speech of Vietnam “by Martin Luther King and news clips of the increase in casualties during the Vietnam War. After establishing the historical period, the camera cuts and weaves between each member of the Chicago 8 during their day, preparing for their peaceful protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
On September 16, 1969, the Chicago 8 entered the courtroom for the first time, where it remained for several months. The film captured the explosiveness of the courtroom, often as a result of tensions between Bobby Seale and unfair rulings by Judge Julius Hoffman. Seale, played by actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, delivers a powerful performance of perseverance through oppressive institutions and the pursuit of justice even if it means being left alone. Seale, who spoke frequently throughout the hearing, was ordered to be “taken care of”. Ejected from the courtroom, Seale was beaten and gagged before being readmitted to court. Although on the opposite side, prosecutor Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) consults with Judge Hoffman and persuades him to declare Seale a case overturned.
In the end, Schultz’s request was met, and as a result, there were seven left.
The Chicago 7 trial is brilliant in that it encompasses the union of different forces for the betterment of America. The most serious and educated activists, such as Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch), Hayden (Eddie Redmayne) and Davis (Alex Sharp), focus on fighting the revolution through intellect and politics, focusing on promoting the Democratic nomination so that issues of poverty, education and equality are given priority. The most captivating of the Chicago 7, are leaders Yippie Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), who contrast sharply with their educated comrades, as their calm composure mixed with their quick and provocative humor is one of the breathtaking performance. While Dellinger, Hayden, and Davis focus on the internal question of real-life issues the revolution raises, Yippie leaders focus more on the outward appearance, giving high-end and flamboyant performance, thus becoming the faces. of culture revolution.
Sacha Baron Cohen, who is best known for his role in the cult classic Borat, is almost unrecognizable in his role as leader Yippie Abbie Hoffman. Cohen is absolutely brilliant in his role as Hoffman, making audiences a charming, yet selfish political activist with the exterior of a hippie, but with the interior of an intellectual and propellant component of the revolution.
The Chicago 7 trial is incredibly bright; the plot parallels the social problems that plague America today, during the pandemic of racism and police brutality. The actors deliver a performance of what it means to be resilient in the face of adversity and the importance of coming together to fight for a common cause. It’s explosive from start to finish and succeeds as it blends drama, history, and humor into one of history’s most notorious rebel groups.
This is the 2020 movie.