Disorder In the Court

New Netflix Release of the Trial of Chicago 7 Review.

Disorder In the Court

Julia Alley, Newspaper Managing-Editor

Overall, I typically am not a fan of movie remakes of historical events. They have a tendency to dramatize certain aspects of the past and in doing so take away from their meaning. However, I did enjoy watching The Trial of Chicago 7 for a multitude of reasons. Of course, it has its shortcomings, but I think it still is something that would be beneficial for movie-watchers to take the time to see. 

The film is based on a notorious trial that took place in 1969, where seven defendants were charged with conspiring and inciting violence by the federal government. This all takes place within protests against the Vietnam war by a multitude of different groups. It’s not hard to see similarities between this setting and our current political climate. With a resurgence of civil rights protests and the implementation of protest laws, this movie is being released into a very relevant time period.  Even as I am writing this, I am frequently checking my phone to see if there’s been an update on the presidential election. At times during my watching, the movie felt more than familiar. The movie follows the seven defendants as they fight against a judge who is visibly favoring an already powerful prosecutor. Observing the many different instances of misconduct, such as plated messages and the dismission of well-meaning jurors, made my skin crawl. Hearing Judge Hoffman repeatedly display incompetent and unprofessional behavior throughout the trial made me want to scream. There were several instances where I was so dismayed by certain actions that I had to try and rationalize with myself that this was just a movie, only then to remember that it is,  quite literally, not. 

On that note, I am reminded of some of my very few criticisms I have of the movie, being that I feel that it embellish certain aspects of what happened during the trial. That’s not to say that the actual trial itself wasn’t full of bizarre and shocking twists, but nonetheless, the movie was very obviously adding a few of its own devices. The ending especially was a very typical ‘the good guys’ win’ trope. It was frustrating to see that conclusion and know that despite everything the good guys did not necessarily succeed. I can appreciate that the movie was meant to disclose and esteem the struggles they made for progress, but there also should be an acknowledgment that these struggles were not the be-all and end-all for injustice. 

I absolutely recommend this movie to everyone, but also that watchers keep in mind that it is a movie and not a completely accurate representation of this trial. Whether or not you choose to watch this movie I highly recommend you do research on this event regardless. I’m glad there is something bringing light to the failures of our judicial system, but it is also our responsibility to educate ourselves.