To start out with, I do not like political movies, or tv shows, or Law and Order, or anything of that genre. However, this movie was so much more than just a political trial between the United States and its dissatisfied people, it was an inspiration. The movie follows a trial between the US government and the leaders of 7 different protest groups who were at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 and engaged in violence with the police. The 7 defendants were charged with conspiracy (among other charges) between their groups that they went to the convention with the intention of causing violence, when in actuality they meant to protest peacefully.
First, the movie did require some background knowledge that I did not have, and I had to look up a bit about that time period and the people in the movie including political leaders and some unfamiliar jargon. So I would say the movie was not one hundred percent accessible to someone who is learning the history of the Vietnam protests for the first time through this movie. I also thought the pace of the storyline at the beginning was a bit fast, as they sped through the process of how the trial actually came to be and I was definitely confused right when the trial started about what exactly was going on.
Those critiques aside, everything else about the movie was just amazing. I could not believe it was a true story, and when looking up some facts afterward I found out that most of it is true, especially the courtroom difficulties with the judge. The cast was also absolutely stacked, and they played so well off of each other, especially Eddie Redmayne and Sacha Baron Cohen. I also really enjoyed the humor that Sacha Baron Cohen and Jeremy Strong brought to an otherwise very grim and serious plot line.
I really admired the style of how the movie transitioned between the present trial and its goings-on with the actual protests that had happened. Someone in the cast would say a specific sentence, or start describing something, and the audience was transported back in time to that event happening. They also mixed in what I think was actual footage from the protests with the movie version, which made it feel even more realistic and heart-wrenching when the protesters were being beat up by the police. It was actually a bit unnerving, because a lot of the protests and police brutality were similar to what is happening today and the protests that began this summer. I find it kind of depressing that 50 years later, we have to fight the same way to try and get our government to listen to us.
Overall, I would highly recommend this movie, for lovers of political drama and for those who just want to know more about our past. The movie is available on Netflix, and I think it is a great watch because of how relevant it is, with protests still going on over the Black Lives Matter Movement and other political issues today.