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Aaron Sorkin's 'The Trial of the Chicago 7' Shows How Little Things Have Changed in 50 Years

10-26-2020 by Tyler Bey

  ( © Netflix)  


The metallic squeeze of handcuffs. A tic of a pen. The hollow connection of a gavel against its sound block. The sound of your own breath as tension is built, held, and eventually relieved. These are the noises that rest in the soundscape of the Netflix original movieThe Trial of the Chicago 7. A glamorous display of editing and sound design, the film laces together a nearby American history with the political belligerence of our present day.




The film is a tug-of-war between the 7 men accused of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, and their prosecutors that act as defendants to the blanket of white American innocence; the major question the film inquires is one of the sanctity of the police. Are police capable of starting riots? In my home of the brave, couldn’t be!




Writer and director Aaron Sorkin does an astounding job of illuminating the parallels of the late-'60s and present day, although anyone with eyes could note them -- the film highlights everything from the constant protesting in the Black American Civil Rights movement, to the rise of the Black Panther party to resist police brutality and racist American practices, to the fallacies of our criminal justice system.




The movie does an impeccable job of laying the web of complicated circumstances, intricate scenarios, and moral nuance that comes with the intersection of race relations, legality, and individual desire. This web can only be realized with actors that can fully embody the truth of their characters. Luckily for us, this film has the perfect talent for the job.




With my favorite performance being from Emmy-winnner Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, the Yale Drama grad showed us exactly what training from the best graduate acting program in the world looks like. Playing co-founder of the Black Panther Party,Bobby Seale, his character faces an act of discrimination so vile it'll live in you viscerally long after his scenes are finished. The film is decorated with more powerful performances from the likes of Eddie Redmayne,Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Keaton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and many more, and plenty other nods to our present-day cultural tension, but you should see them all for yourself!


Watch The Trial of the Chicago 7 now on Netflix and ask yourself the pressing questions about America and the innocence we've cast on it.