Excursions

by Amit Gawande

I really enjoyed Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 - it was an absorbing account of an event I didn’t have much information about. I usually like the well-made courtroom dramas and this one was no different. And I also usually love Sorkin’s method of telling stories and, again, this one was no different.

Though debatable, Sorkin is a master of narrating true stories, keeping you glued to the screen as he unravels more details about the story. He has also mastered his signature style to blend varying and often opposing, narratives and perspectives without letting the drama drag any moment. Even though I didn’t know much about the event, I was completely involved and moved at many moments.

Also, as I was watching the trial play out, I thought Sorkin must have taken a lot of liberty in presenting the facts – especially the actions of Judge Hoffman. No human can be such an asshole, I thought. So the first thing I did was to check how closely were the event and the trial presented. I was surprised to find that most of the key moments shown were true – even the judge’s behaviour.

As unbelievable as it seems, Judge Hoffman, born in 1895, really did act with the malice shown in the film, dismissing objections from the defense before they were made and arbitrarily excluding evidence, witnesses, and even jurors.

Horrible!