The Trial of the Chicago 7 by Aaron Sorkin [9/10]

Aaron Sorkin can do no wrong. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is a superbly wrought account of the Nixon-mandated trial of hippies and others after Mayor Daley unleashed the police on peaceful protestors during the 1968 Democrat convention. Most “based on a true story” films limp under the burden of fidelity to factuality, but Sorkin manages to deftly focus on key moments and aspects and themes of this pivotal trial, while at the same time ratcheting up the tension. Few can do it but this film exemplifies the power of strong storytelling. And the acting! Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, Sasha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin … all exemplary, but I could name a dozen others, notably Mark Rylance and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The ambience of the courtroom, the riot scenes, and the general flower power era are evocatively portrayed, and the cinematography of Phedon Papamichael is powerful. Several of the core scenes had me on the edge of my seat. A must-see, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a 2020 highlight.

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