This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Logan Kenny’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
at only one point in this two hour feature film do the Vietnamese people get mentioned. it never once brings up who assassinated Fred Hampton. it never goes into the details of the police’s calculated assault towards protesters except to do flashy overproduced sequences of exploitative violence. honestly an insane amount of things that it gets wrong, how it doesn’t make a larger point about the systematic oppression built into American society (from the police to courts to education) and constantly sidesteps the content of the revolutionaries on trial for the sake of Sorkin’s broken liberal brain’s monologues about supposed American idealism. it’s honestly fascinating how ill-prepared this specific writer is to tackle revolutionary ethos and to explore the reasons why people seek change, to explore what truly needs to be altered. he doesn’t want to believe that the core is rotten, so he changes the story to make it a little easier to bear. it completely uses the Black Panthers as props before dropping them entirely, the perspectives are all muddled, there is no larger thesis beyond general misdirected anger at specifically corrupt individuals, you never get a true idea of what these people are fighting for. it doesn’t even go in depth into the fucking Vietnam war!! there is nothing here but the words of an idiot, presented in a way that might make them seem less stupid to those who don’t know anything. but for anyone who knows what happened to Fred Hampton, who sees what happens to the marginalised to this very day in the United States, it’s impossible to just accept the bad things that happen as being just the fault of individuals. being civil and obedient doesn’t change that they’ll kill you for speaking out. naive at best, malicious propaganda at worst, knowing Sorkin, it’s a hybrid.
also I cannot stress enough how funny the ending of this movie is. after being about nothing for literal hours of runtime (insane how little it actually covers or goes into considering its length) it decides to be about the FALLEN SOLDIERS and ends with a fucking breathtakingly funny musical score while people around the courtroom do the Black Power fist. he doesn’t even build to this as a writer!!! there’s no insight into the material conditions of the soldiers in the war, reasons why people would stay home vague sentiments about not wanting to kill, nothing about the unjust drafting process for a despicable war, but it’s gotta have that Sorkin ending and it does it in the fakest way possible. I don’t understand what this movie is for, how it does anything, who could possibly like it beyond being vaguely entertained by its stupidity and I really wish someone else had told this story, maybe someone who knew anything about it. John Carroll Lynch and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II are innocent, both doing great work with what shit they’ve been given, really wish both got to be in a movie that gave a shit about the people they’re playing. god this movie sucks so bad!