“The Trial of the Chicago 7”: Entertainment Over Impact

In preparation for the Academy Awards on April 25th, the Corral will be reviewing every potential Best Picture nomination

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” is written and directed by Aaron Sorkin and stars Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, and many others.

Trey Williams, Managing Editor

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” is written and directed by Aaron Sorkin and stars Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, and many others. This film is about the trial surrounding seven different political activists regarding their involvement in inciting the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots.

This is a consistently entertaining movie. Aaron Sorkin, the writer and director, is famous for making witty and fast-paced dialogue. This movie is no exception. Sorkin balanced seriousness with humor well throughout the script. There were some scenes that made me laugh out loud to myself. There were other scenes that made me very uncomfortable, all thanks to great writing.

I also thought the film had a great energy throughout. I was very rarely bored. There were a few great montages throughout the movie, my favorite being the opening montage of each character leading up to the convention.

Another strong aspect of this film are the performances. Sacha Baron Cohen of “Borat” fame does a particularly fantastic job playing a smart but sometimes obnoxious 60’s political pothead. Everyone did a great job making their characters interesting to watch.

This movie is carried by the chemistry of the actors and the engaging script and story. While these are arguably two of the most important things for a movie to do right, this film really suffered from a lack of creativity regarding more technical aspects.

The cinematography, other than some impressively long takes, is nothing spectacular. I feel that more could have been done to portray the chaos of certain scenes, such as flashbacks to the protests, by showing this through the camera work.

I was also very disappointed by both the soundtrack and the score. While sometimes, like in the opening montage, the music did a great job at bringing some energy, the music added very little other than that. The score here is very generic, and the soundtrack is extremely underutilized. How can a 60’s political drama have a boring soundtrack?

This movie has a strange tone. While the implications of this trial are very serious, as well as the general political situation of the time, this movie seems much more focused on making an entertaining story than a challenging one. There is some very disturbing content here, but little is done through how the movie is presented to make the audience feel as disgusted as they should. In this way, I feel like the subject matter is slightly squandered.

That being said, I liked this movie much more than I disliked it. This is a thrilling ride with a compelling and important story. There is a lot of great humor, made even better by many great performances. What holds this movie back is a lack of creative style. If you want an entertaining courtroom drama with snappy dialogue and electric performances, that’s exactly what you’ll get with “The Trial of the Chicago 7”.

Rating: 3.5/5