8/10 My 3rd most anticipated film of 2020, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is writer/director Aaron Sorkin’s follow up to the best film of 2017, “Molly’s Game”, which I gave the rare 10/10 rating to, hence my excitement for this film. While this film isn’t as strong as its predecessor, this is still a great film worth seeking out. The film is playing in limited theatrical release (how I viewed it) but is now available on Netflix to anyone and everyone with an account. Sorkin, one of the top three best screenwriters in the world today, is known for his strong dialogue and he once again delivers that in spades here. The film also has several laugh out loud moments and the humor was balanced perfectly with the serious subject matter. I predict this film will garner multiple Academy Award nominations, one of which will be for its screenplay, which is a huge strength. Other nominations I can easily see this film earning would be in the acting categories. The entire ensemble is fantastic but the true standouts to me were Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Rylance. It seemed as if each main actor all had a very powerful moment to really stretch their acting potential. The recreation of the 1960s time period by way of production design, costume design, props, etc. were all flawless. At the end of the film, Sorkin intelligently provides some information via onscreen text, which is always appreciated. Sorkin likes his editing like his dialogue, quickly paced, which makes the film exciting and entertaining to take in. There are several strong, emotional moments that even had me holding back tears. Ironically, Mark Rylance super fan Steven Spielberg was initially attached to direct this (Heath Ledger was to meet with Spielberg about a role in the film the day he passed away) and the final scene has a very Spielbergian feel to it, almost as if Spielberg directed that closing scene himself. As for some of the negative issues the film faces, composer Daniel Pemberton, who did great work with “Molly’s Game” stumbles here as the film opens with somber imagery from Vietnam and JFK’s assassination and the score plays jazz with loud trumpets containing an upbeat, party vibe to it that completely contradicted what we were being shown onscreen. Besides a couple of moments like that, the rest of the score just wasn’t memorable in any way and fell short. Another mild problem is when Sorkin tries to tie the events of this film to what is going on in modern day. While themes about justice vs. injustice will generally always survive the test of time, what happened in the film and in that point in history is different from what is going on today. Sorkin trying to force a parallel to today felt inauthentic and rang untrue, all while being too on the nose. Finally, five of the seven on trial are well developed characters with ample amounts of screen time but two of them, while not as important and that is explained, don’t get any development and receive a fraction of the screen time. I understood that they weren’t very important to the trial but ignoring them didn’t seem right either. Overall, the razor sharp dialogue, amazing, Oscar worthy performances, high quality production values and strong emotional core do make this a must see film, either in theaters or on Netflix. Sorkin continues to craft incredible screenplays and I eagerly await whatever he decides to do next with great anticipation.
#JeremyStrongPerformances / #FantasticBriefsAndWhereToFindThem / #TheBigCourt / #WithstandTheProtestOfTime / #ProjectAbuseOfPower / #BobbysSealeOfApproval