What Is The Point? #films #politics #thetrielofthechicagoseven

Sadly one of many Christmas traditions that Auntie Rona Virus has consigned to the bin is the post Christmas day trip to the cinema. So it’s Netflix or nothing. No, that’s not true. While I indulged my latent passion for jigsaw puzzles – 1000 pieces and a cartoonish picture for preference – I re-enjoyed the Tintin movie Spielberg made with Peter Jackson a while back. He took liberties – using three books to make one film – and some of the voicing left me wincing because down the years I’ve decided what each character sounds like. Actually, thinking about it, that’s one reason why seeing a film made of a favourite book can be disappointing, however great the attempt is. It’s not the screenplay necessarily (though that can grate) but the imposition of the actors on the characters and, particularly, the voices.

I digress. The Tintin movie was enjoyable enough, even if I only really had half an eye on it, while I tried to find the missing piece – did you see the gap? The film I did watch and give my full(ish) attention to was the Trial of the Chicago Seven, a Sorkin screenplay and Spielberg production. It’s an ensemble piece with a lot of fine acting talent on display. It’s basically a courtroom drama which limits the director’s scope for innovation and relies on the strength of the story and the acting.

And it’s a tremendous story of corruption, dirty politics, a generational struggle, a struggle for recognition – oh all sorts. And it resonates in many ways with the current times; today, the youthful protests are more climate based that antagonistic to a war and the BLM issues are just, sadly, the latest in a long line with those featured in this film as egregious as those that happened this year.

I didn’t know about this trial or its genesis so read about it, better to understand the context. Maybe it would have been better if I hadn’t because this was yet another compelling drama where the writer played fast and loose with the facts when he really didn’t need to because the facts were dreadful enough for any script.

Something about timelines. In life x doesn’t inexorably lead to y; it often meanders via p and back to b, while being influenced by w and a modified c. But Sorkin wanted to make it fit, so he could lift the drama and give the actors neat little justifications.

These things irritate me. I’m pretty sure I’d have happily sat, mouth open, disbelieving the political bias at the heart of this trial if I’d not checked. But, here’s the thing. If you make a film based on fact then base it on the sodding facts.

There’s a bit of a drama at the mo about the latest series of The Crown and some liberties taken with the behaviour of the Heir to the Throne. Some pompous arses want a health warning on the screen to say this is not a documentary. Oh come on, don’t be so patronising. It doesn’t matter; it’s just a bit of fluff about the Royal Family. It’s not important, beyond the fact they cost a small GDP to keep going. Whereas the machinations set out in the Chicago Seven’s story does have a relevance beyond it’s historical context. Some things are best not messed with.

Like Tintin books….

If you know the story of the Chicago Seven, without remembering the detail you’ll probably enjoy the fine acting. Just don’t fact check it. My mistake. I should have treated it for the fiction it was clearly meant to be; maybe if they’d put a health warning on it?

And if you don’t know the story, see it. It’s bloody horrifying…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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11 Responses to What Is The Point? #films #politics #thetrielofthechicagoseven

  1. I know the Chicago Seven facts, so I don’t want to see a warped version. The funny thing about Hollywood warping is that most filmgoers have no idea that facts have been skewed. I lived in Chicago at the time and always had problems with the way things were handled.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. willowdot21 says:

    I enjoyed the Crown, taken with a large pinch of salt it was easy watching and very funny at times. I have seen the Chicago 7 on the screen but not watched it yet. I might just now! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. markbierman says:

    I really enjoyed The Trial of The Chicago Seven, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate the inaccuracy in films, Geoff, and that is a major reason why I don’t watch any. I like to watch ‘real’ information. My huband made me sit through Love Actually before Christmas. I told him it made me totally depressed because Emma Thompson’s husband was such a twat in the movie. He was shocked that this was my take away from the movie. Well, it was.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      I love proper fiction and enjoy Love Actually even if some of the characters are prats. But when a perfectly good true story is ‘improved for perceived dramatic tension… grrrr

      Like

  5. trifflepudling says:

    I think it does matter that The Crown potrays fictional conversations. These people are mostly still with us and if they’re not, their children are, and it must be absolutely horrendous to know that somebody is just writing this stuff to make a fast buck and turning your relatives into cheap entertainment – and to not be able to respond.
    Obviously I’m a royalist but I did find the Queen’s words back in April and last week infinitely more reassuring than anything any politician has said this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I am very familiar with the Chicago Seven and didn’t know that there was a movie. Now I know to avoid it. As for that puzzle piece, it is probably in my little brother’s pocket where he always put the last piece just to make me nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I found the gap in the puzzle – how frustrating. Thanks for the Chicago Seven recommendation. You can keep The Crown

    Liked by 1 person

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