Movies reviewed this week: The Trial of the Chicago 7.
10/21/2020: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020): ***1/2
It’s a Sorkin movie. The history’s not totally accurate, there are no significant female characters in sight, and it is weird as hell to name the woman who does nothing but answer phones after Bernardine Dohrn. That’s not a common name! There was already a Chicago area activist named Bernardine in 1968-69 and she was not answering phones for William Kunstler.
So that’s a really weird flex and it annoyed me.
On the other hand there’s a lot to be said for a movie which doesn’t spend a ton of time playing both sides between protesters and cops. Bonus points for a scene making it clear that it’s bad when police hide their badges. It’s Sorkin, so we do get a bit of the prosecutor being sympathetic, but most of his both sides tendencies are absorbed by the conflicts between Tom Hayden and Abbie Hoffman.
Even there, we get Hoffman convincing less-radical-than-the-real-life-Hayden to be more radical through the power of mutual respect. (It’s a Sorkin movie.)
Mark Rylance was great, Sacha Baron Cohen was very good.
On the whole I feel this movie balances out the first episode of The Newsroom. The remaining episodes and all other issues will require further effort.