‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’: The whole world is watching

Written by Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 follows the trial of a famous group of activists.

Netflix [Fair Use]

Written by Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” follows the trial of a famous group of activists.

Regan Carroll, Staff Writer

America has an impending presidential election, streets filled with protestors fighting for those who have had their rights stolen, battles between thousands of protestors and law enforcement and peaceful protests-turned-riots. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” bears a striking resemblance to current events in the United States, such as the upcoming election and Black Lives Matter protests that occurred earlier this year. This film’s release was timed perfectly. Its effective storytelling makes viewers feel as if they are in the courtroom. The impressive acting paired with Academy Award-winner Aaron Sorkin’s directing makes this movie a must-watch.

The film, written and directed by Sorkin, successfully brings the 1969 trial of the Chicago Seven onscreen. Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which is now streaming on Netflix, is about the notorious legal battle of the anti-war activists named the Chicago Seven. The group’s original name, the Chicago Eight, included Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale (Yahya Adbul-Mateen II), but Seale was later dropped from the trial. The Chicago Seven included Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins), John Froines (Daniel Flaherty) and David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch). These seven men were indicted for violating the Rap Brown law that made it illegal to cross state lines in order to riot or to conspire to use interstate commerce to incite rioting. The film shows bits and pieces of the five-month trial. 

When I first saw this film on my Netflix spotlight, I was immediately excited. Upon seeing the two-hour runtime, I hoped this movie would live up to my expectations. Personally, I loved every minute of this film. From the court-room drama to the editing, it reached my high expectations fully. The film had the perfect amount of humor and drama, making it more entertaining than a court case should be. I found myself becoming passionate about the issues they were fighting for as if I were alive during that time. Witnessing the battles between law enforcement and protestors this year is a key resemblance between 2020 and 1969.

Sorkin does a good job of setting the tone by opening with a montage of real-life footage from the peak moments that occurred before the trial. The montage includes clips from the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and former Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the beginning of a draft called by President Johnson for the Vietnam War and the deaths of thousands in the Vietnam War. With this opening sequence, Sorkin makes viewers feel as if they are living during this crisis. This decade needed change, and that’s what this group fought for. Thousands of people followed the Chicago Seven, making it an incredibly popular protests ever. 

This film, based on true events from 1969, shows clear modern parallels. From protests to activists, the United States’ current situation feels similar to this story. A group of seven men not ceasing to fight for what they believe in. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is an extraordinary dramatization of the infamous legal battle that took place in 1969.