“The whole world is watching!” It is the rallying cry in writer/director Aaron Sorkin’s Netflix original film “The Trial of Chicago 7”, which recreated the five-month federal trial in which eight anti-war activists were prosecuted for causing the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

The film is thought-provoking and entertaining like nothing you’ve seen before, and it’s a perfect time to release the film just a few weeks before the most important election in decades. How does a last century’s event reflect 2020? Well…you’ll be surprised. A half-century after the event, we’re still fighting against systematic racism, police violence, bureaucratic corruption, failed justice system, and inhuman war.

The message here is timely yet timeless. It’s a lesson from the past and a warning for the future at the same time. Sorkin’s script is incredibly paced and precise, which is not a surprise with “The West Wing”, “The Newsroom”, “Moneyball” and “The Social Network” in his portfolio. It’s a courtroom film, so be prepared for two hours of talking and debating in “The Trial of Chicago 7”. But man, Sorkin is a master of dialogs. His writing is powerful and infectious, and also details the event happened more than 50 years ago in an old fashion way. It’s only Sorkin’s second film as a director after 2017 “Molly’s Game”, yet his direction is as solid and effective as his script.

And don’t even mention the stellar cast, just to name a few, including Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Mark Rylance. One of the characters even made fun of the trial “It’s the Academy Awards of protests. It’s an honor just to be nominated.” The cast is just phenomenal. If Oscar is still a thing in 2020, these wonderful actors are definitely going to get nominated.

“The whole world is watching!” 50 years ago, the protestors yelled. “The Trial of Chicago 7” shows us the long way our liberal civilization has been through, where are we heading to from now on, and what will be there waiting for us in the future. Now, our democracy is in urgency, and the whole world is watching once again as the election is approaching. This time, we shouldn’t look away. 

GRADE: A-

Contact me at jiajinpin@gmail.com.  Follow social at @jjpin

  • Distributor: Netflix
  • Production: Dreamworks Pictures, Amblin Partners, Cross Creek Pictures, Double Infinity Productions, MadRiver Pictures, Marc Platt Productions, Paramount Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, Rocket Science, and ShivHans Pictures
  • Director: Aaron Sorkin
  • Writer: Aaron Sorkin
  • Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella, Michael Keaton, and Kelvin Harrison Jr.
  • Limited release in selected theaters from September 25. Available for streaming on Netflix October 16, 2020

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