“The Trial of the Chicago 7” & “What the Constitution Means To Me”–2 MUST SEE FILMS–review   Leave a comment

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1) “The Trial of the Chicago 7”–Netflix–Movie–2 hours and 9 minutes–Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed this important episode in American history approaching it with a documentary feel making a powerful, effective ‘thriller’. A lot was going on in the late 1960s in the USA and many of us who have lived through the period see many of the same things happening now. We also have forgotten a lot about this trial that is about 7 men who were charged with inciting a riot on August 28, 1968, at the Democratic National Convention. I know it triggered many different thoughts for me as I watched it.
The acting is superb starting with Frank Langella as the vile judge and Michael Keaton in a short but very effective role as Ramsey Clark the Attorney General at the time of the riot. Each member of the 7 on trial, their defending lawyers plus their prosecuting attorneys all rise up to their moments demanding your attention on the screen.
Eddie Raymayne (Tom Hayden), Alex Sharp (Rennie Davis), Sacha Baron-Cohen (Abbie Hoffman), Jeremy Strong (Jerry Rubin), John Carroll Lynch (David Dellinger), Yahya Abdul-Mateen ll (Bobby Seale), Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Fred Hampton), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Richard Schultz), Mark Rylance (William Kunstler) and the rest of the cast bring all the drama and humor each role calls for with, particularly, Rylance and Lynch standouts.
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” is a MUST SEE film for those who were around then and those who weren’t. Be sure to watch the closing credits to the end. Aside from being an important part of American history, it works as a mystery thriller plus packs a wallop as a protest film.

2) “What the Constitution Means to Me”–Amazon Pride–taped version of play–1 hour and 40 minutes–took me about 15 minutes to get with the play but when I did I was in it all the way to the very last word. I thought it was going to be a standup comic doing her ‘thing’ but it is way more than that. You will laugh, cry and, I have no doubt, learn something!
Heidi Schreck wrote and stars in the Broadway success that was about to go on a national tour when the epidemic hit so instead it was filmed at one of her performances. With her writing and performance she ‘opens’ the play and it never seems to be confined to a stage.

At the age of 15 Schreck was earning college money by traveling across the country entering debates in American Legion halls which she recollects at the beginning. Before we know it she is digging into the constitution at several ages, from several different viewpoints, her life which will have you laughing, crying, holding your breath more than once and at the same time making you ask yourself, “How did I miss knowing that?”Without giving any spoilers let me just say she does have 2 people on the stage with her including Mike Iveson who plays 2 roles, one being a legionnaire who makes sure that the rules are followed and the other being himself. The other person, Rosdely Ciprian, who makes the play not only unforgettable but as timely and real as today!

Every American seeing this will want to debate that the ‘Constitution is a living document’–some pro, some con–while others will be faced with some realities that they aren’t/weren’t aware of what the Constitution of the United States has done or hasn’t done—yet!
It is certainly a film that anyone from another country should see to, maybe, understand the problems the USA is having these 2+ weeks before Election Day and why it is so important.

Posted October 18, 2020 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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