Monday, November 9, 2020

Movie Review: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

Often, great movies do present a powerful political message. However, when the whole point and purpose of a director/writer is to do just that, the results are often much less poignant. The trial of the Chicago 7 is the perfect example. Played by an incredible cast composed of excellent actors who went above and beyond to represent real people, the film still falls flat and renders itself irrelevant.  In my view, this is mainly due to the key man behind it - Aaron Sorkin.

Once more, Sorkin does what he does best - writing clickety-clack dialogs and making every individual segment of the film seem a bit too epic and historically relevant for my liking. It seems like he said to himself that he has to make a very impactful political piece of cinema. But that very obvious desire makes the film often shaky in connection to its very convoluted legal background (especially when it comes to the role of Bobby Seale and his plotline). Here, the film often shows some nodes of this complex legal case, but the connection between it and the implied tyrannical elements of the US government stays murky.  

However, a much bigger problem is the finalization of the whole story. It ends up as an ensemble collection of all manner of sappy “the good guys won in the end” courtroom drama cliches. It even features a slow-clap-people-rising scene, accompanied by a teary-eyed boy who just realized that his dad is a true hero. All that ends up on a level that would make Hallmark writers cringe. So, in other words, Sorkin needs to stop with this process of turning himself into Starbucks of smart-looking, but shallow and patronizing movies.