What’s the ruling on Netflix’s Trial of the Chicago 7?


Kaden Hughes, Magazine and Backpage Editor

“The whole world is watching! The whole world is watching!” A reoccurring phrase heard throughout the length of Netflix’s new movie, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and it reflects the movie exceptionally well. 

The whole world needs to watch this movie. 

Based on the true story of the Chicago Seven, seven protestors arrested during the 1968 Democratic National Convention for crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot. The film draws clear comparisons from the Seven, to modern day, with Black Lives Matter protestors and police brutality at protests. 

Aaron Sorkin, the films director and screenwriter, brings the trial to life, from the character writing and dialogue, to the score and set design. Sorkin, a clearly talented screenwriter based on past works like The Social Network, Moneyball, and A Few Good Men, writes each character with precision, with an impact on every line, but also allows the brilliant actors to fall into their roles, bringing personality and liveliness to each character. 

While the lead role is clearly “Tom Hayden”, co-founder of the “Students for a Democratic Society”, portrayed without flaw by Eddie Redmayne, it is clear who the star of the show truly is: “Abbie Hoffman”, a founder of the Yippies(Youth Internationals Party, a group of revolutionaries), played by Sacha Baron Cohen, elevates the movie.  

Baron Cohen gives an Oscar worthy performance in a serious role, something audiences were skeptical about at first. However, Baron Cohen shows us a relatively unseen dramatic side, but of course manages to get in a few jokes here and there, being the comedic mastermind he is. Baron Cohen has never been better in a role, and he has shown he’s yet to peak as an actor with this theatrical role. He adds light to the thematically heavy movie, and even quotes some jokes directly from Abbie Hoffman’s real life court trial. 

Supporting actors like Joseph Gordon-Levitt as “Richard Schultz”, Mark Rylande as “William Kunstler”, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as “Bobby Seale” compliment Baron Cohen and Redmayne without flaw, but one supporting actor stands above the rest; Michael Keaton as “Ramsey Clark”, the former attorney general, in a fairly small role, but when he’s onscreen he owns the shot. He plays the role with such swagger and confidence, as if he’s the greatest actor alive, and after this movie, he’s not far from it. 

A large emphasis on Sorkin’s screenwriting was about not making this a 60s era film. He wanted the set, the costumes, and the music, not to scream 60s, but to make the film applicable and relatable to modern times. From the protest scenes, to the racial bias in the judicial system, Sorkin nails that feeling.  

While Sorkin’s creation might be a historical film, its themes are more than apparent today. From the political protests, the anti-police riots, police brutality, and the clear racial and political bias in the judicial system, the film reflects America in 2020. Sorkin could not have chosen a better time for this movie to be released. 

What’s the verdict? The Trial of Chicago 7 has a star studded cast, an incredibly talented writer and director, and a brilliant creative team. Each cast member gives an Oscar-worthy performance, and helps the Trial of Chicago 7 become easily the greatest movie of 2020, and the greatest Netflix original movie to ever be released. It would truly be unlawful for this movie to not win best picture at the 2020 Oscars.  

The ruling of The Trial of Chicago 7?  

7/7 stars.