Aaron Sorkin wrote the
screenplay of The Trial of the Chicago 7 at the height of Bush-era, and we can
still, draw parallels in the present day world. It’s unfortunate that the real
events that conspired in the 1960s are still politically and socially relevant
Sorkin can today be considered a strong filmmaker who landed aptly timed
punches and introduced ideas that were insightful and deeply tragic. With his
brilliantly arched characters, he espoused west wing ideas like comfort food –
little by little, making us feel full with a dauntless attitude and heroic
thoughts at the end.
The Netflix original is
about the federal trial of eight anti-war activists in the aftermath of Chicago
Riots that happened at the Democratic National Convention in the late 1960s.
They were accused of conspiring against the government and crossing the lines
drawn by the state and law of the United States of America. The eight
individuals who were put on trial included Tom Hayden who was the leader of the
Students for a Democratic Society, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubins who were the
leaders of the Yippies, David Dellinger, John Froines, Lee Weiner, Rennie
Davis, and Bobby Seale who was the leader of the Black Panthers.
Now, in reality, some
of them had never even met each other in their life before. Bobby Seale, for
instance, was forcefully grouped with the rest of the defendants even though he
had been in Chicago for a total of four fours only to give a speech against
war. That’s it! But the man got pulled into this dirty trap set up by the
From the state, US
Attorney Richard Schultz led the prosecution; he was conflicted with the entire
conspiracy himself and tried to show compulsion and hesitation with complete
earnestness. The judge was Julius Hoffman, who was completely biased and
misused his power to the best of his capabilities. He was racist, unjust, and
Prepare yourself to
hear the word contempt a lot during the courtroom sequences because he
literally tried to send everyone – including the defendant lawyer— to prison on
Let’s just confirm that
fact that Sorkin discusses one of the most uncomfortable eras of American
history. You’ll feel frustrated, nostalgic, and seriously offended by the losses
but ultimately satisfied with the boomer triumphs – a spirit that strangely
seems lost in today’s world.
Some of the dialogues used
were actually true, as they can be cited in several research journals. If your
ideology conforms with right-wing politics, this will be a difficult film
The casting of the
movie was particularly smart! Some people were skeptical when Baron Cohen was
cast as Abbie Hoffman, but this was, in fact, one of the best casting decisions made in recent years.
Now if there’s one
dialogue that you’ll remember for days to come, it’s this: “I’ve never been on trial for my thoughts before.”
singlehandedly conceptualizes the motivation behind this ridiculous trial. This
observation resonates with the modern-day politics where democracy is dead and
people hold contempt for simply having ideas.