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Sorkinâs new film promises to be thrilling legal drama
Aaron Sorkin’s latest film promises to be a timely meditation on what constitutes the fine line between what’s acceptable and what goes too far in mediating free speech. The Trial of the Chicago 7 will be released digitally on Netflix on Oct. 16.

Sorkin’s new film promises to be thrilling legal drama

Lanz Aaron G. Tan (The Philippine Star) - October 8, 2020 - 12:00am

Trailer review: The Trial of the Chicago 7

“The whole world is watching! The whole world is watching!”

Outside the Democratic National Convention of 1968, a sprawling crowd protesting the Vietnam War chanted that line tirelessly in front of countless TV cameras capturing rampant police brutality on the streets of Chicago. That line also forms the backbone for the trailer of Aaron Sorkin’s latest film, The Trial of the Chicago 7, setting a breathless tempo to what promises to be a thrilling legal drama.

To say that writer-director Sorkin is a celebrated figure in Hollywood circles is an understatement. The famed scribe has penned screenplays for prestigious films for almost 30 years from A Few Good Men to The Social Network (the latter of which is currently streaming on Netflix), and he has seven Golden Globe nominations (with two wins) and three Academy Award nominations (with one win) to show for it. His feature-length directorial debut, Molly’s Game, proved his diverse talents in a film paced on the same stride as his famously cerebral, rapid-fire dialogue. Sorkin’s latest directorial venture, The Trial of the Chicago 7, released its first trailer on Sept. 14.

Sorkin’s trailer rides confidently behind well-established talent, flaunting an all-star cast including Sacha Baron Cohen (in a rare dramatic appearance), Joseph Gordon Levitt, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance and relative newcomer Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

Also behind the camera is Academy nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael (Ford v Ferrari, Nebraska, Sideways). He lights the courtroom scenes with great dramatic depth — using mild back-lighting, a fill light from a window to highlight facial expressions and smoke to ease focus. These well-composed shots stand in starkly contrast to the harsh imagery of the night-time protests, with powerful back-lighting and a handheld camera, which adds a degree of documentary-like realism to the picture.

The trailer ends on a chilling note with a line from Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen): “I’ve never been on trial for my thoughts before.”

In light of recent protests such as the Black Lives Matter movement in the US and public outcry towards some controversial legislation here in the Philippines, Sorkin’s latest film promises to be a timely meditation on what constitutes the fine line between what’s acceptable and what goes too far in mediating free speech.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 will be released digitally on Netflix on Oct. 16.

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