Netflix's The Trial Of The Chicago 7 Trailer Delivers Intensity And An All-Star Cast Led By Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbi Hoffman in The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Thanks to the typical season-long awards race, the fall is generally the home for the year's most prestigious films, and in recent years Netflix has become a major player in that race with films like Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, and Martin Scorsese's The Irishman. That trend is continuing this year with the release of Aaron Sorkin's The Trial Of The Chicago 7, and based on the trailer that has just been released, it looks like it is going to be a seriously intense ride through a tension-fraught period of American history. Check it out below!

Being one of the most well-respected filmmakers in Hollywood, Aaron Sorkin has never had a problem getting talented actors to be a part of his projects, but this film features what is perhaps his best ensemble to date. There are so many awesome actors in this thing that they don't even all appear in this trailer! You likely spotted Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but this is a cast that also includes Michael Keaton, William Hurt, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Rory Cochrane, Frank Langella, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and more.

Set in the late 1960s and featuring a very on the nose title, the film's story centers on the trial of the Chicago Seven – a group of counterculture activists whom the federal government tried to charge with conspiracy following a riot that took place during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The film was originally going to be released by Paramount, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the studio sold the distribution rights to Netflix, and now the movie is one of their big releases for the fall season.

This is a film that has been in development for an excessively long time, and thus its pretty amazing to actually see this footage finally arrive. Aaron Sorkin initially wrote the screenplay for The Trial Of The Chicago 7 back in 2007 (so we're talking pre-Social Network and Moneyball), and the original plan was for Steven Spielberg to direct it. Unfortunately, the development of the film also happened to coincide with the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, which led to Spielberg dropping out. Then there was a time when Paul Greengrass was attached to make it, but that relationship lasted all of two months. The silver lining is that Sorkin gained some feature directorial experience in the years while the project sat on a shelf, and it was in 2018 that plans were announced for him to direct it himself.

The Netflix-released feature is just the second that Aaron Sorkin has directed, having made his debut in the big chair with Molly's Game back in 2017. The movie didn't exactly light the box office on fire, but it earned positive reviews and Sorkin's script was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay award at the Oscars. To echo the sentiment above, after seeing the trailer for The Trial Of The Chicago 7 it would be none to surprising to see the film earn the filmmaker his fourth nomination at the big show... and possibly even take home a trophy for the second time (his first win being for The Social Network).

Originally the plan was for The Trial Of The Chicago 7 to be released on September 25, but the deal between Paramount and Netflix resulted in the release being pushed a few weeks. Now it is set up so that subscribers to the streaming service will have access to the film starting on October 16 – and given how much anticipation is surrounding the release, you can be sure that we'll have more coverage of the movie coming your way between now and its arrival online.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.