A window to the rebellious American soul.
With the intent of watching a story of true events, written by one of the most talented screenwriters of the past twenty years in Aaron Sorkin, there was not much doubt amongst my mind as to how The Trial of the Chicago 7 would be paced and exhibited by the mind of Sorkin. The way he’s able to adapt a narrative such as this does present his proficiency with writing; however, I consider his directing job, in the case of The Trial of the Chicago 7, to be much more intense and momentous. And the truth is, the writing presentation throughout the motion picture’s duration was quite sloppy and underwhelming at key points. And although you can count this criticism under the realm of nit-picking, screenwriting is where the brilliance derives within the mind and physical creations of a filmmaker such as Aaron Sorkin. Moreover, the way his script follows his classical, quick-witted dialogue track does not bode well for the tale he is re-enacting.
In a film such as The Social Network, when most of the script is chiefly spurred from the underbelly of college gossip, the screenwriting worked in a much more pristine matter. In the sense of The Trial of the Chicago 7, it was incredibly commonplace for Sorkin to built the foundational edits of the film upon these constant, quick cuts which rapidly made the film lose its tonal consistency from the expositional fragment. Furthermore, the structural flaws such as depicting Malcolm X as a peaceful freedom fighter (while he was into violent rebellion) came about quite often within the first act which is where most of my clumsy criticism comes about.
On the hand of the second and third acts, The Trial of the Chicago 7 does come through in a substantial matter as Aaron Sorkin’s character introduction is quite phenomenal with historical figures such as Tom Hayden (played by Eddie Redmayne) and Abbie Hoffman (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) who come through in some masterful ways as they provide the framework for an incredibly striking film. In a more in-depth manner, the work of Eddie Redmayne presents the booming voice behind the film’s turbulent thesis while Sacha Baron Cohen develops a character who co-exists on a more lighthearted side of the spectrum which sheds some light on the way people view the formalities of our legal system. Personally, the protesting sequences around the central roadways of Chicago were the most enticing to view as the camera direction was flawless at these sectors of the film. Specifically, the shots Grant Park in which the cinematography presents unnerving presence through the depth of each carefully concocted shot. The sequence in which the anti-war protesters stood at the bottom of the hill in Grant Park while the police’s resistance stood at the top of the elevated surface was such a gut-wrenching scene due to the remarkably meticulous cinematography. And as a whole, The Trial of the Chicago 7 does maintain its composure through some of its sloppy attempts at cohesion within the first forty-five minutes as the plot development from that point forward is rather fantastic; but the way Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay is paced simply does line up with a story of this historical magnitude and importance. It was an opportunity that had much potential plot and subtext wise, but the clumsy execution did still manage to leak through.