The Trial of the Chicago 7 Review by Sputnik

The film is based on the infamous 1969 trial of seven defendants charged by the federal government with conspiracy and more, arising from the countercultural protests in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The trial transfixed the nation and sparked a conversation about mayhem intended to undermine the U.S. government.

The movie has so many brilliant scenes like the cross examination scenes of Stahl, Daphne and Abbie. The scene where the two sympathetic jurors are removed, the scene where they find many of their “friends” were actually FBI agents Ramsey Clark’s testimony scene and the scene where Tom is questioned about inciting the riots are all excellent.

The best scene of the movie is the scene where Bobby Seale is beaten up in another room and brought back into the court with his mouth gagged. The scene will and should infuriate you.

So how accurate is the movie to the real events? As this article says “Most notably, though Seale is only bound and gagged for a few moments in the film, in actuality he spent several days in court that way, only able to communicate through muffled noises. I also could find little evidence that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Richard Schultz, was as sympathetic to the defendants as he appeared in the film. Indeed, some suggest the real Schultz was not nearly as composed as his boss, Foran, and was harsh on the defendants as “the government’s pit bull.” I also cannot find any evidence that one of the few female characters in the film, the undercover FBI agent Daphne O’Connor (played by Caitlin FitzGerald), was real. However, most of the events of the film are true, including the gag pulled by Hoffman and Rubin of wearing judges robes to mock Judge Hoffman. Much of the dialogue is taken from courtroom transcripts. In an interview with The Guardian, one of the defendants, Rennie Davis, now 80, confirmed that while it wasn’t the climactic closing statement that Sorkin made it in the film, all of the names of the people who lost their lives in Vietnam were read aloud at one point in the trial.”

Sacha Baron Cohen is very good as Abbie Hoffman. Eddie Redmayne is good as Tom Hayden. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is ok as the prosecutor Richard Schultz. He seemed somewhat miscast for the role. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is excellent as Bobby Seale. Michael Keaton is very good as Ramsey Clark in a small cameo.

Frank Langella is excellent as Judge Julius Hoffman. His character will infuriate you with his incompetence and bias. There are scenes where you will be so angry with him that you will start cussing at him.

John Carroll Lynch is very good as David Dellinger. Mark Rylance is very good as the attorney William Kunstler. Alex Sharp is good as Rennie Davis. Jeremy Strong is very good as Jerry Rubin. Ben Shenkman is good as attorney Leonard Weinglass. Caitlin FitzGerald is good as Daphne O’Connor. The rest of the cast is good too.

Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay and direction is excellent. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is excellent and one of the best movies of the year. Its one of the best courtroom dramas ever. Its so topical with all the protests going on in US and elsewhere.

Highly Recommended

  1. cr7 1 year ago

    Watched it today .Incredible movie and extremely relevant. Sorkin’s writing is backed by some terrific performances. Have stopped caring about Oscars but it should be a frontrunner.

    • Author
      sputnik 1 year ago

      Agree with you that its “Incredible movie and extremely relevant. Sorkin’s writing is backed by some terrific performances.”

      Yes I think it will definitely be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. I am hoping Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Frank Langella will get some nominations too.

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