Gh0stman’s review published on Letterboxd:
Revisionist history. Plain and simple. That's what Aaron Sorkin has to offer in this complete distortion of the very real and very leftist Chicago Eight's defiance against the American government. Re-imagining the titular heroes as progressive centrists who are defending the American government from itself, Sorkin's depiction rides roughshod over the facts and the truth; where the Chicago Eight were protesting at the '68 DNC against the American government, and the Democratic Party, because they correctly surmised that the entire state apparatus of the country's government was murdering millions across the globe; most predominantly in Vietnam at the time as well as inside the United States. You will get absolutely none of that in this new film, which sinisterly whitewashes the politics of its real life figures. Most of the group, at least at the time, were open socialists, communists, or anarchists so it boggles the mind that Sorkin's film never once mentions any of those political terms during the entirety of his movie. Another troubling matter is the Joseph Gordon-Levitt character, whose prosecutor is portrayed as a misunderstood family man and is seen by the movie as a nice guy who just happens to be indicting and trying to imprison the Chicago Eight out of vague constitutional principles rather than for political reasons. The only part of the film that genuinely works is the bit where Bobby Seale is gagged and tied. It's true to history but it's quickly glossed over and the movie moves on. Another glaring mistake is where the film makes the insinuation that the Chicago Eight were to blame for the protests and their arrests during an argument between Hayden and Hoffman that's punctuated by a flashback to said protests where they were arrested; an especially tone deaf part that should have never been filmed. Speaking of filming, Aaron Sorkin may have a modicum of writing talent (he knows script structure clearly well and can conjure up a witty line or two every now and then) but he has none behind the camera. Sorkin's film is highly televisual in the shooting and cutting, the performances are often merely caricatural, and the directing is as light as Thor's Hammer. The film is rife with cliched courtroom moments, like the judge banging his mallet while barking "ORDER!" and people standing up and yelling at the judge to not throw them in jail in complete high school theater monologue complete with soaring music and rampant applause. In conclusion, this is a bad film whose real aim is to undermine the leftist legacy of the Chicago Eight and reduce it to mere neoliberal centrist platitudes that also indirectly 'resist Trump' at the same time. If you want watch a better film about leftism and the sixties that has some relevance to today's current events, I'd recommend Godard's Vladimir et Rosa; which also is an interpretation of the Chicago Eight Trial.
Also, everyone in this movie is like ten to twenty years too old for their parts. It's almost like a nursing home's theater production.