‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ Review: Disorder In and Out of Court

‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ Review: Disorder In and Out of Court

Aaron Sorkin’s docudrama about the trial of demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic convention resonates with our current moment but takes a few liberties along the way.

I read this tweet From Lawrence M. Krauss:

Another film recommendation: @trialofchicago7 on Netflix. A powerful film with riveting acting about an important time in US history: 1968, with an illegal war abroad and the country at war with many of its citizens at home. Lessons worth remembering so it is not repeated.

I did enjoy the movie and it was timed perfectly with this year’s many protests and riots taking place. The recent riots in Portland remind me of this tweet a week ago by the atheist Michael Shermer:

Again, when centrists, conservatives, & reasonable people see acts of destruction like this by SJWs, Antifa & leftist lunatics, & associate this illiberalism with liberalism, they say “I’m voting for Trump.” Keep it up leftists & you’ll get 4 more years of Trump.

‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ Review: Disorder In and Out of Court

Aaron Sorkin’s docudrama about the trial of demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic convention resonates with our current moment but takes a few liberties along the way.

By

Joe MorgensternOct. 15, 2020 5:27 pm ET
(Link @ https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.wsj.com/amp/articles/the-trial-of-the-chicago-7-review-disorder-in-and-out-of-court-11602797234 )

An almost palpable air of chaos calls to us from more than half a century ago in Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” streaming on Netflix. Then, as now, an angry, frightened nation was beset by political and social divisions. We recognize all too readily the tumult preceding the trial, demonstrators and cops facing off in the streets of Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention. The riots that followed evoke our worst nightmares. If the trial proceedings seem so bizarre as to beggar belief, we certainly grasp the central issue—whether the defendants had exercised their right to free speech and peaceful protest against the Vietnam War, or conspired to incite violence during the convention. Mr. Sorkin’s film is sometimes eloquent, and sustained for the most part by his flair for hyperverbal entertainment. Yet it also diminishes its aura of authenticity with dubious inventions, and muddles its impact by taking on more history than it can handle.


The trial alone would have been a challenge to convey in the course of a single feature—it lasted almost six months. And the proceedings, based on transcripts, are intercut with densely detailed flashbacks to the riots via re-enactments and archival footage, plus dramatizations of defense and prosecution strategy sessions outside the courtroom. The movie seems overlong at 129 minutes. (Phedon Papamichael did the excellent cinematography. The production was designed by Shane Valentino.)

As descriptions of the event always note, it began as a trial of the Chicago 8, since the Black Panther leader Bobby Seale was included as a defendant, even though he was not involved in the protests near the convention. (He’s a forceful presence in the film, as played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.) His case was eventually severed for a separate trial, but only after Seale’s outbursts provoked the shocking spectacle of his being chained and gagged at the instruction of the judge, Julius J. Hoffman. Frank Langella portrays Hoffman without commenting on him, no small achievement in the case of a jurist who quickly grew infamous for his capricious behavior, his bias for the prosecution and his inability to control his courtroom in the face of the defendants’ disruptions. Mark Rylance is similarly canny in dialing back the volatility of the radical defense attorney William Kunstler.

Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman
Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman PHOTO: NETFLIX

The trial was political theater, and Mr. Sorkin’s script capitalizes on its theatricality, though his direction isn’t always up to the task. In between moments of turmoil, confrontation or flamboyant clowning, the tone turns stolid, even dull; some scenes end with inexplicable thuds.

Eddie Redmayne is an oddly bland choice as Tom Hayden, more preppy than prickly in the role of the radical leader and relentless strategist who deplores the gleefully anarchic approach to antiwar protest taken by two of his fellow defendants, the so-called Yippies Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman. (The latter was no relation to the judge, as the other Hoffman took pains to make clear, declaring from the bench that “he is not my son.”) They’re played respectively by Jeremy Strong, who brings irony, even melancholy to his role, and Sacha Baron Cohen, a bold choice who proves to be a memorable one. Mr. Cohen doesn’t quite get the Massachusetts accent, but his agility as a comic actor gives him the key to Hoffman’s quicksilver intelligence, while the script gives him the wit and complexity to make Hoffman the movie’s most intriguing character.

Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden
Eddie Redmayne as Tom HaydenPHOTO: NETFLIX

Some script choices are questionable, or worse. By all accounts the prosecutor Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was unswervingly conservative, and considered a government attack dog at the time, yet Mr. Sorkin gives him covert liberal sympathies. At trial’s end the real-life Tom Hayden, invited by the judge to make a statement, spoke with calm and clarity of his generation’s imperative for political action. Mr. Sorkin makes him the centerpiece of an emotional Hollywood ending by giving him a rhetorical gesture so implausibly elaborate, not to mention shamelessly melodramatic, that it leaves you wondering how much license has been taken elsewhere in a movie that seems to play fast but reasonably tight with its facts.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby SealePHOTO: NETFLIX

By now docudramas are a venerable genre, and a valuable tool, despite their simplifications, for exploring significant events of the past or recent present. No wonder Mr. Sorkin has said he wanted his film to be not so much about the riots of 1968 or the trial of 1969 as about right now. Yet then was then and right now is a singular time, a period of unprecedented peril that requires us to distinguish between reality and the bombardments of the media surround. That’s not to suggest that “The Trial of the Chicago 7” doesn’t have historical value, which it does, or that it isn’t enjoyable, which it is, at least in fits and starts—only to say that it’s a movie, not an instruction manual, and should be treated with appropriate caution.

Write to Joe Morgenstern at joe.morgenstern@wsj.comhttps://www.google.com/amp/s/www.wsj.com/amp/articles/the-trial-of-the-chicago-7-review-disorder-in-and-out-of-court-11602797234

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Portland protesters topple Lincoln, Roosevelt statues during ‘Day of Rage’

The unrest was reportedly tied to the ‘Day of Rage’ on the eve of Columbus Day

Edmund DeMarche

 By Edmund DeMarche | Fox News

Portland absorbed another night of violent protests Sunday that resulted in the toppling of two statues in the city and reports of numerous buildings with their windows smashed in, including the Oregon Historical Society.

The unrest was reportedly tied to the “Day of Rage” on the eve of Columbus Day.

Andy Ngo, a journalist who has been documenting the unrest in the city, posted images of the destruction on Twitter. The Oregonian reported that protesters managed to bring down statues of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

Ngo posted a video of what he identified as the protesters toppling the statue of Roosevelt, which depicts the former president riding on horseback. The video showed a rope tied around the statue and protesters could be heard cheering when the statue shifted.https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.foxnews.com/us/portland-protesters-topple-lincoln-roosevelt-statues-during-day-of-rage.amp

Jussie Smollett

Justin “Jussie” Smollett[1] (/ˈdʒʌsi/ JUSS-ee,born June 21, 1982)[1] is an American actor and singer. He began his career as a child actor in 1987 acting in films including The Mighty Ducks (1992) and Rob Reiner‘s North (1994). In 2015, Smollett portrayed musician Jamal Lyon in the Fox drama series Empire, a role that was hailed as groundbreaking for its positive depiction of a black gay man on television. Smollett has also appeared in Ridley Scott‘s science fiction film Alien: Covenant (2017) as Ricks and in Marshall (2017) as Langston Hughes.

Jussie Smollett
Smollett at the 2016 PaleyFest
BornJustin Smollett
June 21, 1982 (age 38)
Santa Rosa, California, U.S.
OccupationActor singer songwriter
Years active1991–present
RelativesJake Smollett (brother)
Jurnee Smollett-Bell(sister)

Smollett was indicted in February 2019, for disorderly conduct for allegedly staging a fake hate crime assault;[2] the charges were dropped the following month.[3] In February 2020, he was indicted on six counts of making false police reports.[4][5][6]

2019 alleged hate crime hoax

Main article: Jussie Smollett alleged assault

On January 29, 2019, Smollett told police that he was attacked outside his apartment building by two men in ski masks. He reported they called him racialand homophobic slurs and said “this is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump‘s slogan “Make America Great Again.”[36] He claimed they used their hands, feet, and teeth as weapons in the assault.[37][38] According to a statement released by the Chicago Police Department, the two suspects then “poured an unknown liquid” on Smollett and put a noose around his neck.[39]Smollett said that he fought them off. Smollett was treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital; not seriously injured, he was released “in good condition” later that morning.[36][40][41] The police were called after 2:30 a.m.;[42] when they arrived around 2:40 am, Smollett had a white rope around his neck.[43] Smollett said that the attack may have been motivated by his criticism of the Trump administration[44] and that he believed that the alleged assault was linked to the threatening letter that was sent to him earlier that month.[35]

On February 20, 2019, Smollett was charged by a grand jury with a class 4 felony for filing a false police report.[45][46][47] The next day, Smollett surrendered himself at the Chicago Police Department’s Central Booking station.[48] Shortly thereafter, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi stated that Smollett “is under arrest and in the custody of detectives”.[49] On March 26, 2019, all charges filed against Smollett were dropped, with Judge Steven Watkins ordering the public court file sealed.[3][50] First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats said the office reached a deal with Smollett’s defense team in which prosecutors dropped the charges upon Smollett performing 16 hours of community service[51][52][53] and forfeiting his $10,000 bond.[54][55][56]

On April 12, 2019, the city of Chicago filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County against Smollett for the cost of overtime authorities expended investigating the alleged attack, totalling $130,105.15.[57][58][6][59] In November 2019, Smollett filed a counter-suit against the city of Chicago alleging he was the victim of “mass public ridicule and harm” and arguing he should not be made to reimburse the city for the cost of the investigation.[60] On February 11, 2020, after further investigation by a special prosecutor was completed, Smollett was indicted again by a Cook County grand jury on six counts pertaining to making four false police reports.[4][6] On June 12, 2020, a judge struck down Smollett’s claim that his February charge violated the principle of double jeopardy.[61]

Last Update 3 hrs ago

AOC to VP Pence: ‘It’s Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez to you’

Ocasio-Cortez appeared bothered by what she saw as “gender dynamics” at work during the debate, in which Pence was the only male participant

By Dom Calicchio | Fox News

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared to be closely watching the vice presidential debateWednesday night, tweeting several responses to comments by Vice President Mike Pence during his confrontation against Sen. Kamala Harris.

Particularly irking the New York Democrat seemed to be Pence’s reference to her by her widely used nickname “AOC.” 

“For the record @Mike_Pence, it’s Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez to you,” Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez@AOCUS House candidate, NY-14For the record @Mike_Pence, it’s Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez to you.9:29 PM · Oct 7, 2020

Ocasio-Cortez also appeared bothered by what she saw as “gender dynamics” at work during the debate, in which Pence was the only male participant. She accused Pence of demanding answers for the questions he posed to Harris, while trying to avoid directly answering questions put to him by the debate moderator, Susan Page of USA Today.

“Why is it that Mike Pence doesn’t seem to have to answer any of the questions asked of him in this debate?” she wrote.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez@AOC
US House candidate, NY-14Why is it that Mike Pence doesn’t seem to have to answer any of the questions asked of him in this debate?9:06 PM · Oct 7, 2020

“Pence demanding that Harris answer *his* own personal questions when he won’t even answer the moderator’s is gross, and exemplary of the gender dynamics so many women have to deal with at work,” she added.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez@AOCUS House candidate, NY-14Pence demanding that Harris answer *his* own personal questions when he won’t even answer the moderator’s is gross, and exemplary of the gender dynamics so many women have to deal with at work.9:18 PM · Oct 7, 2020

But perhaps the most touchy subject for Ocasio-Cortez – a member of so-called “Squad” of far-left lawmakers on Capitol Hill — was climate change.

During the debate, Pence had suggested that the Green New Deal – the signature legislative proposal of Ocasio-Cortez – was a product of “climate alarmists” that would be expensive and cost many Americans their jobs. Estimates have placed the deal’s price tag at more than $90 trillion.

Pence claimed that the Democratic presidential ticket of former Vice President Joe Biden and Harris would fully embrace the plan if elected.

“Now, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would put us back in the Paris climate accord, they’d impose the Green New Deal, which would crush American energy, would increase the energy costs of American families in their homes, and literally crush American jobs,” Pence said.

Ocasio-Cortez responded by claiming the Green New Deal “has been lied about nonstop.”

“It’s a massive job-creation and infrastructure plan to decarbonize & increase quality of work and life,” she wrote.

The vice president also accused Biden and Harris of wanting to steer the U.S. away from traditional energy sources and ban fracking – a process that has helped contribute to the nation’s resurgence in the energy sector but has been a divisive topic among Democrats, who are split between the economic benefits of the process and what many see as its potentially harmful environmental impact.

The debate performance of Vice President Mike Pence drew close scrutiny by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

The debate performance of Vice President Mike Pence drew close scrutiny by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Harris quickly shot down Pence’s assertion about fracking.

“The American people know Joe Biden will not ban fracking,” Harris said. “That is a fact. That is a fact.”

Ocasio-Cortez – perhaps mindful of accusations that she was less than enthusiastic for the Biden-Harris ticket after preferring progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders for president earlier in the campaign – kept her fracking response limited to a single sentence.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez@AOC
US House candidate, NY-14Fracking is bad, actually8:43 PM · Oct 7, 2020498.3K92.1K people are Tweeting about this

“Fracking is bad, actually,” she wrote.Dom Calicchio is a Senior Editor at FoxNews.com. Reach him at dom.calicchio@foxnews.com.


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​Amy Coney Barrett was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in November 2017. She serves on the faculty of the Notre Dame Law School, teaching on constitutional law, federal courts, and statutory interpretation, and previously served on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College in 1994 and her J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in 1997. Following law school, Barrett clerked for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court. She also practiced law with Washington, D.C. law firm Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin.

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