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Illustration by Madison Cohen

War, race, class struggle and justice. These are some of the key themes that accompany Emmy and Academy Award-winning director and filmmaker Aaron Sorkin’s new project: “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” The film is based on a true story of seven men who went to court and were charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in protest of the Vietnam War. 

The film consists of an ensemble cast, including stars such as Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, John Carroll Lynch, Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong, Noah Robbins and Daniel Flaherty, all of whom play the roles of the seven men convicted. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II also stars in the film as Bobby Seale, a former leader of the Black Panther Party. 

The film follows the Chicago Seven and their actions during the protests and trial. With an increasingly biased and unfair judge, played by Frank Langella, the movie is a triggering, rage-inducing tale of unfairness in the criminal justice system. 

Lagella does an excellent job at making the audience hate him. The way he treats the defendants, the way he handles outbursts and interruptions and the not-so-subtle racism he conveys all lead to being the perfect villain the film needs. 

The audience finds itself rooting for the Chicago Seven. Like in real life, they become the heroes of the story, the leaders of the ragtag group of people who want and demand change. Even through all the unfairness, corruption and maliciousness these men had to go through, their confidence and beliefs never wavered. The performances of the group easily show that.

Baron Cohen, who plays the loud and outspoken Abbie Hoffman, shines in the film in a complete redirect from his normal comedic roles. While all the main actors’ performances are delivered in exceptional fashion, Cohen’s ability to be funny, serious, angry and passionate stands out.

Not only is the movie great for its writing, portrayals and storytelling, but the film’s direct comparisons and parallels of the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots to the current Black Lives Matter protests are perfect. Examples of police brutality, police officers removing their badges and name tags and other instances that happened over 50 years ago are still relevant today. 

With “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Sorkin again shows his storytelling genius. The film stacks up with Sorkin’s other projects like “The Social Network,” “The West Wing” and “Moneyball.” This film should be discussed and talked about for years to come.

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars