Aaron Sorkin knows his way around courtroom drama theatrics. His script (adapted from his Broadway play) for the 1992 Tom Cruise-Jack Nicholson verbal slugfest “A Few Good Men,” did not shy away from gavel-banging razzmatazz. He returns to court with the docudrama “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (streaming on Netflix), which he wrote and directed.
The trial of the title involves several antiwar activists (played by several Oscar and Emmy winners) who were accused of conspiring to cause riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
The trial itself was a carnival of sometimes funny, sometimes shocking moments, which Sorkin depicts. But this scene, featuring the testimony of the usually more jokey agitator Abbie Hoffman (played by the usually more jokey Sacha Baron Cohen), turns down the volume and gives the court more of the order its judge (Frank Langella) has been seeking throughout the film.
It’s the film’s final trial scene, but it’s handled differently than usual. Narrating this video, Sorkin explains why he went in a quieter, more straightforward direction, and why all eyes were on Cohen in interpreting its tone in his performance.
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