The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

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I dug this. Highlights were Rylance, Sorkin's script and Redmayne and Rylance's climatic argument. Liked the score too.

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Ruth wrote:
October 18th, 2020, 7:29 am
Okay, fine, I’m returning to NF to say this would be my favorite film of 2020 if not for its very ending. Ugh, fine, I think it’s still my favorite film of the year. I thought this was amazing.
I think the ending makes sense in that it pays homage to the real people who were accused. Their idea was to denounce the war in Vietnam, and obviously, that's not what Sorkin's after, and in many ways the leads of the film for me are Rylance and Langella (who ends up quite high on the character-I'd-like-to-punch list) and not the accused. So it's okay for me that he gets back to what these guys were trying to fight first. I am also okay with the way he ends JGL's arc in that scene: he makes for a more complex and interesting character than the judge. The judge is a good character in that he motivates the anger that drives the film, but not an interesting character to analyse. So as "villain" go, they contrast each other in interesting ways tonally.
Anyway, really enjoyed the film. Much better than Molly for me.

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Demoph wrote:
October 18th, 2020, 3:31 pm
Ruth wrote:
October 18th, 2020, 7:29 am
Okay, fine, I’m returning to NF to say this would be my favorite film of 2020 if not for its very ending. Ugh, fine, I think it’s still my favorite film of the year. I thought this was amazing.
I think the ending makes sense in that it pays homage to the real people who were accused. Their idea was to denounce the war in Vietnam, and obviously, that's not what Sorkin's after, and in many ways the leads of the film for me are Rylance and Langella (who ends up quite high on the character-I'd-like-to-punch list) and not the accused. So it's okay for me that he gets back to what these guys were trying to fight first. I am also okay with the way he ends JGL's arc in that scene: he makes for a more complex and interesting character than the judge. The judge is a good character in that he motivates the anger that drives the film, but not an interesting character to analyse. So as "villain" go, they contrast each other in interesting ways tonally.
Anyway, really enjoyed the film. Much better than Molly for me.
My gripe with the ending is that it tries to present itself as this "feel good" moment, a victory almost, when it really wasn't, all possible homages aside.
So Hayden gets up and starts listing the names. At that given moment, who is he honestly even addressing? Schultz, a person whose characterization apparently differs quite greatly from his real life counterpart, by that point had already established himself as capable of nuanced judgement (his reaction to the abuse of Seale), so the movie is not trying to win him over. Is it the judge? It falls completely on deaf ears because he's a lost cause, yet as I mentioned, Sorkin presents this moment as a victory as the defendants raise their fists. Is this an attempt to sway America's right? Uhm yeah, the film shows how well that generally works out by having Frank Langella's character try to smash everyone into submission with his gavel.

The reason why I'm not attempting to question film's Hayden's motives here, is because in reality, this never happened. Hayden never reads out the names, Dellinger attempts to do so, but I've not read the trial transcript, so can't say how that went. Instead, Kuntsler delivers a closing statement which is heaps more powerful and poignant than what was included, and overall lands all of the emotional punches better:
"When a new truth comes upon the earth, or a great idea necessary for mankind is born, where does it come from? Not from the police force, or the prosecuting attorneys, or the judges, or the lawyers, or the doctors. Not there. It comes from the despised and the outcasts, and it comes perhaps from jails and prisons. It comes from men who have dared to be rebels and think their thoughts, and their faith has been the faith of rebels. "What do you suppose would have happened to the working men except for these rebels all the way down through history? Think of the complacent cowardly people who never raise their voices against the powers that be. If there had been only these, you gentlemen of the jury would be hewers of wood and drawers of water. You gentlemen would have been slaves. You gentlemen owe whatever you have and whatever you hope to these brave rebels who dared to think, and dared to speak, and dared to act."

An intolerable war abroad has divided and dismayed us all. Racism at home and poverty at home are both causes of despair and discouragement. In a so-called affluent society, we have people starving, and people who can't even begin to approximate the decent life. These are rough problems, terrible problems, and as has been said bv everybody in this country, they are so enormous that they stagger the imagination. But they don't go away by destroying their critics. They don't vanish by sending men to jail. They never did and they never will. To use these problems by attempting to destroy those who protest against them is probably the most indecent thing that we can do. You can crucify a Jesus, you can poison a Socrates, you can hand John Brown or Nathan Hale, you can kill a Che Guevara, you can jail a Eugene Debs or a Bobby Seale. You can assassinate John Kennedy or a Martin Luther King, but the problems remain. The solutions are essentially made by continuing and perpetuating with every breath you have the right of men to think, the right of men to speak boldly and unafraid, the right to be masters of their souls, the right to live free and to die free. The hangman's rope never solved a single problem except that of one man.
At heart, dare I say, this film isn't so much an anti-Vietnam war protest film, but an anti-American establishment, anti-government courtroom film that lifts the veil of a system that was always rigged from the start. I don't think Sorkin is that radical, but I think he probably got the closest towards delivering that message to the audiences (that would listen). So just want to make it absolutely clear that whatever the intentions were for the faux inspirational ending, the trial itself WAS NOT a feel good moment, it wasn't a victory. It was a complete miscarriage of the justice system to absurd levels. So in general, I just feel personally conflicted over the ending, because as opposed to the rest of film's mood, it registers as the most "and that man's name? Albert Einstein!! And then everybody clapped!!" fashioned ending I've seen in a while. But that's very Sorkin lol.

Yet, I also understand different perspectives, and it's why I'm conflicted. Because I can see what emotionally could drive people towards pushing for an optimistic "the America that could be" feel. As hilarious as it may seem, the movie just so happened to be perfectly timed to the events of 2020, and the only way one could avoid its myriad of parallels is if they watched it on mute with their eyes closed. And 2020 fucking sucks. And perhaps we need that sweet cheesy escapism from the realities of cynicism and find ourselves at least somewhat driven by hope, even if a little naive and not entirely representative of history.

And yeah, I agree, I said I liked Molly's Game, but this is a whole lot better. The more I try to flex my smooth brain over it, the more I like it tbh. I failed to mention this earlier, but I loved how the film addressed the "schism" of sorts within the political left itself, by positioning Hoffman and Hayden's contrasting views as a rivalry between pragmatism and radical idealism. It's cool.


oh lawd sorry this is super fucking long lmao. i haven't talked movies in a while

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Thought the writing was quite good for the most part however the direction and editing didn’t flow for me at times. The last scene is straight cheese.

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Durden wrote:
October 19th, 2020, 12:58 am
The last scene is straight cheese.
Sorkin M.O.

great film

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Michaelf2225 wrote:
October 19th, 2020, 10:45 am
Durden wrote:
October 19th, 2020, 12:58 am
The last scene is straight cheese.
Sorkin M.O.

great film
Felt like this scene could have been powerful if he started to read the names and slowly faded to credits. Just a more subtle approach really would have landed for me. The execution is just way to over the top it's cringe for me. However I know some people will connect to this and they aren't wrong for doing so.

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I think this might be my favourite thing from Sorkin.

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I thought this was scorching entertainment, but extremely uneven as social justice critique. I don't mind an overly Hollywoodized account necessarily, or even a Capra-esque one, but it's too messy and all over the place imo to totally work on its own broad merits.

Namely, Sorkin plays musical chairs with the ensemble. We follow and drop POVs pretty clumsily, like how the entire movie is framed by JGL's Prosecutor... only for his POV to be completely dropped from the movie. I think we needed cleaner POVs to guide the movie; the whole thing really should've belonged to Rylance imo, as is it's too big of an ensemble, and none of them can stand up to the oppressive Judge Hoffman who casts a huge shadow over the rest of the movie.

Also: it is flat-out bizarre Sorkin didn't include Daley's political machinations at all. Daley infamously orchestrated and triggered the riots, and this gets, at best, a throwaway line of dialogue. It's extra bizarre Sorkin pulls his punches on Daley and even Nixon's AG, while also overly sanitizing the Chicago 7 themselves, especially Abbie Hoffman who was a full-tilt anarchist and would never, ever say the things Sorkin made him say. Sorkin believes our political systems are good and just and merely run by bad people, which to me is obviously naive and very wrong and possibly even dangerous.

Finally, after a Black man is gagged and abused and they get sentenced to 5 years in prison, it's thirdly bizarre that warrants anything like a "happy ending."

Anyway, entertaining movie with overall a well written script. Wish it was made by an actual filmmaker ala Spielberg.


-Vader

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You can't tell me director of Molly's Game is not 'actual filmmaker' cause my body starts cringing fast.

Directed by director with more pedigre, or perhaps even Mr. Spielberg, who in many countries of the world is synonimous to cinema and directing? That I can take.
But if you stand behind that camera and direct a movie, any sort, sorry but that man is a director, for better or worse.
𝑰 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒕 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒍 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒕. 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒅𝒊𝒅𝒏'𝒕 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒕 𝑱𝒂𝒘𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒘𝒊𝒎𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒑𝒐𝒐𝒍.
- 𝑫𝒆𝒏𝒊𝒔 𝑽𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒖𝒗𝒆

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m4st4 wrote:
October 19th, 2020, 7:48 pm
You can't tell me director of Molly's Game is not 'actual filmmaker' cause my body starts cringing fast.

Directed by director with more pedigre, or perhaps even Mr. Spielberg, who in many countries of the world is synonimous to cinema and directing? That I can take.
But if you stand behind that camera and direct a movie, any sort, sorry but that man is a director, for better or worse.
by 'actual' i mean someone who "actually" knows what they're doing and interprets the material cinematically and elevates it. Sorkin does not.


-Vader

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