The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a film that can be hard to watch at times because of the deep injustice and corruption, but I think everyone needs to see this even though it is at times unsettling. When making a film about something like this, it is incredibly important to stay true to the facts and to make the audience feel what these characters are feeling. This film does these things exceptionally. Through both the script and the performances by the cast, we are able to feel the pain and the anger of these events in history. The talent involved here is immense and that is why this film turned out so well.
The script gets multiple things correct. It’s well paced for one. Pacing is key so you don’t bore or confuse the audience and I found the pacing here to be delightfully even and well thought out. Another great thing about The Trial of the Chicago 7 is that it brings the issues that are at the center of this film to light and it talks about them in a deep touching way.
Feelings are central to this story and if you have a script that is dry and without feeling, it’s just no good. I was so happy to see the issues of injustice and corruption be highlighted in a real and intense way. There’s simply no sugar coating dark stuff like this.
And finally, the other great thing about this script is that it prioritizes these characters and lets us get to know them. And it lets us get to know them in a smart way, it doesn’t spend too much time on the individual characters but it also doesn’t neglect them – a nice balance is found.
The performances by this extremely talented cast are all stunning. Eddie Redmayne in particular gives an outstanding performance as Tom Hayden. Redmayne is just such a great actor and portrays him in a very real and relatable sense. Sacha Baron Cohen also gives a knockout performance as Abbie Hoffman. Cohen is of course known for his crass comedy for the most part, but he is also a very gifted dramatic actor and his performance here proves that for sure. Cohen utilizes his comedic talent in certain ways when called for here but also taps into the dramatic intensity he needs to when called for, making for a nuanced performance that’s a delight to behold.
Mark Rylance impressed me very much with his performance as William Kunstler, he makes his character so real and likable with utter ease – I just loved him here. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II gives a powerful supporting performance that highlights the ugly reality of racism and it is…. chilling, to put it lightly. Mateen continues to prove himself as a great talent and his performance here is simply breathtaking. Frank Langella also does an exceptional job playing a severely biased and obviously bigoted Judge Julius Hoffman.
Langella doesn’t frame his performance in a an overtly villainous fashion, he simply plays his part in a historically accurate real way. If his performance was too over the top antagonistic it would have undercut the reality of it all – Langella plays it well. The rest of the cast does a good job as well but those I’ve talked about, I felt, stood out the most. The runtime of The Trial of the Chicago 7 is two hours and ten minutes but because it’s so exceptionally made, that doesn’t feel like a long time at all. I do hope people will tune in and watch this film because not only is it a great film but it’s also oh so important and unfortunately, on some of the issues, it’s rather timely.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a masterfully made film that touts a carefully crafted script and very impressive performances all around. I hope everyone will give this one a chance – it needs to be seen.
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