It’s hard to believe that the September 11th attacks were 20 years ago this month. It was an event that scarred the American psyche and that the country has been trying to reckon with through art ever since. We remember vividly things, such as the images of debris-covered civilians fleeing the scene or the American flag hanging over the ruins. There are things we don’t remember so well also, though, such as the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund which was created by an act of Congress just days after the attacks with an end goal of stopping the victims from suing the airlines involved.
Worth tells the story of Ken Feinberg and the administration of that fund, from its inception through the struggles to bring all the victims families on board and to its final resolution and payout to nearly 97% of them. If this sounds like it’s a little dry, well, you’re not entirely wrong.
The topical period piece is hardly a new phenomenon. Examining our past such that we might examine our present is a function of art, and if executed well a surefire way to be on everyone’s mind come awards season.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 tells the story of the aftermath of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. During that event, several groups came to the city to protest the war in Vietnam. Thousands of people protested for days before violence broke out, and the situation devolved into what we now know to be a police riot. The film picks up the following year when eight men, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale are on trial for conspiracy to incite a riot.
Aaron Sorkin has been developing this film for years, but it’s hard to imagine a world where the timing of its release could be better.
In 1968 8 men –Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale– were charged with conspiracy and inciting a riot following the massive anti-Vietnam War protest at the Democratic Convention.
With the government wanting to send a message to protesters following what would later be classified as a police riot, this would become the trial of the year and a big moment in 1960s America. Aaron Sorkin has been working on this screenplay for ever a decade, and now has brought it to screen as director as well. Let’s take a look.