(2020) (Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Rylance) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: A small group of 1960s era anti-war protestors are put on trial for conspiracy to incite riots at the previous year's Democratic National Convention.
A year after riots broke out near the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a trial begins where the defendants are charged with that rioting as well as conspiracy during their anti-war protests. They are Tom Hayden (EDDIE REDMAYNE) and Rennie Davis (ALEX SHARP), the leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society; Abbie Hoffman (SACHA BARON COHEN) and Jerry Rubin (JEREMY STRONG), the leaders of the Youth International Party (Yippies); David Dellinger (JOHN CARROLL LYNCH), the leader of the Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam; anti-war activists John Froines (DANNY FLAHERTY) and Lee Weiner (NOAH ROBBINS); and Bobby Seale (YAHYA ABDUL-MATEEN II), National Chairman of the Black Panther Party who claims he has nothing to do with them as he wasn't present at the riots.
Representing all of them except for Bobby -- whose lawyer is unable to attend the proceedings, thus meaning Fred Hampton (KELVIN HARRISON JR.) must whisper legal advice to him from the general audience -- are lawyers William Kunstler (MARK RYLANCE) and Leonard Weinglass (BEN SHENKMAN). Representing the U.S. government are federal prosecutors Richard Schultz (JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT) and his boss Thomas Foran (J.C. MACKENZIE) who've been sent there by the current U.S. Attorney General to make sure all of the men are convicted despite his predecessor under a different Administration, Ramsey Clark (MICHAEL KEATON), having previously concluded that charges weren't merited.
Overseeing the proceedings is Judge Julius Hoffman (FRANK LANGELLA) whose mental faculties seem to be in question although his actions show what he believes the outcome of the trial should be. As that plays out over the following months, the defendants waver between bickering among themselves to showing solidarity, all while Kunstler tries to figure out how to deal with the mentally unfit judge and actions by Schultz to try to put the men behind bars.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- Those into political history or who might be a fan of anyone in the large cast might show some interest.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For language throughout, some violence, bloody images and drug use.
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