The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is the most infuriating film I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in 2020, and yet it is so wonderful. Aaron Sorkin writes and directs this spectacular display of just how messy the United States justice system can be while showcasing some stellar people along the way. Fans of historical dramas may not find the most accurate portrayal of the events that took place, as it very much remains a he said / she said / they said tale; nonetheless, fans of the subject and Sorkin’s fine tuned storytelling should give this film a proper trial.
This is only Sorkin’s second effort behind the camera, his first being the exquisite (yet underrated) Molly’s Game, and it in no way shows. Just as well versed as Sorkin’s writing, his direction flawlessly matches, and with his vision on the paper he is able to properly translate it to the screen. The film does stretch a little long, but as the film continues to reveal more and more behind the trial of the Chicago 7 you easily forgive the runtime and even forget that the film has gone far over the two hour mark.
Sorkin has written some of the greatest films we may ever see: The Social Network, Steve Jobs, A Few Good Men, and Moneyball; the man (debatably) can’t miss. Here we are forced to sit through an infuriating trial with a ridiculously overheated judge, misjudged defendants, and lawyers that obviously want the case to go their way. We are met with information, character driven characteristics during the actual trial, the breaks, the nights, and most importantly the flashbacks. Eight men have been arrested (shh, you’ll see) on the charge of conspiracy and crossing state lines to form riots against the democratic convention, and we see the truth and the falsehood behind these claims as we indulge ourselves into the backstories of each individual character. A majority of the film takes place within a courtroom and with another filmmaker or another screenwriter, this film would be claimed as Oscar bait that more than likely would have failed in its delivery. This is not an easy story to tell, nor an easy story to keep your audience enthralled in, but Sorkin manages to do so easily.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
This film is stacked to the gills with phenomenal talent, all of which I had no idea were going to be in it because I purposefully went in blind apart from knowing that it was written and directed by Sorkin. There is no in between, no bad performances, no lacking character development; every character has so much for the audience to lean on. It's astounding.
I’ll name just a few names below, but if you can’t tell already by this review, I would definitely suggest you seek this film out without ruining the surprise of who stars within. But, with that being said, we have… Eddie Redmayne (Fantastic Beasts…), Sacha Baron Cohen (Sweeney Todd…), Mark Rylance (Dunkirk), Joseph Gordon Levitt (Looper), and that’s hardly the beginning of this insanely talented roster. The characters you are intended to hate, you loathe with a passion; the characters you’re supposed to feel remorse for, you do without regret. The Trial of the Chicago 7 knows exactly what it wants to do and whether you feel disdain toward the film for its powerful message, or believe that it’s steering you toward rooting for the wrong people, I dare you to ask yourself if you are on the right side of history.
Sorkin Remains Top Of His Game
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (2020)
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Daniel Pemberton as composer created an engrossing score that helped drive home the dialogue even more so; the score tripled the amount of stress and overall emotions I had during the situations. Assisted by phenomenal performances, the score just magnified each and every character's perspective.
It's quickly become abundantly clear that people are going to differ when it comes to not only this film but Sorkin in general going forward. In my opinion, Sorkin remains top of his game, crafting a magnificent showcase of our legal system back in the late '60s that just happens to parallel with modern times. The performances are astounding, the dialogue is engrossing, and the film as a whole flies by, intriguing at least myself into learning more about this wrongful political trial.
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 - Now Streaming On NETFLIX
Susan Lyall was the costume designer on Molly’s Game, and that film was loaded with fantastic outfits, looks, and styles. It represented the time it was set, the stages of Molly Green’s life, and who she was becoming. Similarly with The Trial of the Chicago 7, she brings the same energy into play but instead of toward a single character, Lyall fits all those aspects onto the entire cast.
The sets were wonderfully constructed with set decoration reflecting perfectly the setting we are residing in, sucking the viewer into the picture even more so, making us feel that we are, ourselves, being put on trial. Every time I entered the courtroom, my heart sank, unsure how this new day would go with the odds certainly not in the defendants favor, and this disheartening feeling was made even greater by the quality of production.