The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) by Aaron Sorkin

While I agree with the general opinion that Sorkin’s witty and to the point writing seems too heavy handed for a story about socio-political change, I also can’t deny that it is damn effective in getting its point across. And for films with poignant messages, I rather the latter than the former. Even though it comes at the cost of a five star rating.

“The trial of the Chicago 7” tells the story of 7 people charged with inciting violence and riots in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention of 1968. This was the election that eventually lead to Nixon’s presidency. The trial came to represent the establishment’s attempts to suppress freedom of speech, the increasing social injustices of 60s America, the prevalent issue of police brutality, and the divided public opinion on the Vietnam War.

As countries across the world face these same issues again, the film feels particularly poignant and the creators are well aware of this. Though they are targeting an American audience, I, an Indian citizen was ready to go out and protest by the films conclusion. That is how effective the film was in explaining why people need to stand up when something is wrong.

The case it makes, through brilliant actors, sharp dialogue, and dramatic staging, is simple:

One can’t deny that there will always be those who wish to rule with absolute authority and serve only themselves. The only way to keep them in check and give equality and justice a chance is to ensure that democracy continues to function and that people are able to exercise their freedoms and duties without fear or obstruction.

When people stop being informed, when fear and hatred get peddled to the masses like sugar to kids, democracy is threatened.

Of course it seems that nowadays many make the case that democracy is not necessary. I know these people think that they’re right and safe and the establishment they consider themselves a part of will never come for them. I hope for their sake they’re right. Because if they’re not, they are dismantling the very system that could have protected them.

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