Chicago 10 Reviews

Page 1 of 12
Super Reviewer
March 11, 2008
Entertaining and informative, but lacking depth
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2008
Animated trial segments with celebrity voice actors distract from more gripping news footage about those who protested a government which denied its citizens their rights.
Super Reviewer
½ December 31, 2008
I turned this documentary off. How could you fuck this up? Seriously. I tell you how. You mix terrible animation with Rage Against the Machine playing the first five minutes during the set-up of this damned thing.

Yeah, the film's about something from the '60s and RATM is playing. NICE CHOICE ASSHOLES! And I couldn't hear a damn thing cuz Tom Morello is SOLOING HIS BALLS OFF and the animation makes me want to cry.

Super Reviewer
November 13, 2008
This is a documentary about the protest at the 1968 Democratic convention and the trial that followed. This is an important story worth telling, and the actual documentary footage works pretty well, but the film shoots itself in the foot with its animated recreations. The first problem is that the animation in these reenactments looks horrible; it?s a form of rotoscope animation drawn over live actors, but it isn?t done anywhere near as well as it was in Richard Linklater?s films, it looks like something that would have been used in a computer game from 1995. Secondly the voice acting is ridiculous on a regular basis, particularly with the judge whose voice sounded like a mix between Mr. Magoo and Froghorn Leghorn, the facts of this trial are more then enough to feel like a miscarriage of justice, the added effect is cheesy and unneeded. The film uses modern protest songs by the likes of Rage Against the Machine and Eminem, this initially felt out of place, then again the last thing the world needed was yet another montage of 60s civil disobedience to the tune of Buffalo Springfield. I think what the film really needed was some contemporary interviews looking back, six of the ten are still alive and I would have loved to hear their take today.
Super Reviewer
August 29, 2008
Chicago 10 delves into the chaotic world of the 1960's where the 1968 Democratic National Convention was the setting for one of the darkest times in history as Chicago becomes more like a police state in trying to control anti-war protesters, and what follows is a trial for eight high profile leaders of the anti-war movement which was as ludicrous as the Vietnam War itself.
Chicago 10 mixes animation and archived footage to tell an effective story about what the people can do if pushed to get their voices heard. The film features a great cast including Jeffrey Wright, Hank Azaria, Mark Ruffalo, and the late Roy Scheider, who portray the major players of the Chicago Conspiracy Trail in 1969.
Some 40 years later the events that unfolded in Chicago in 1968 are still just as socially relevant as they were back then, and Chicago 10 is a very engaging film that you shouldn't miss.
½ October 29, 2009
CHICAGO 10 is an exciting, vibrant recreation of the anti-war protests surrounding the Democratic Convention that resulted in the arrests and subsequent trials of Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, David Dellinger,Lee Weiner, John Froines, and Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panthers who had only been IN Chicago for 2 or 3 hours. You may say, that's only 8 and you're right. The other 2 are their lawyers Leonard Weinglass and William Kunstler, who racked up almost 5 years in contempt of court charges during the trial. The film is composed of both live action footage of the real events (most notably the actual the attempts to march upon the convention center and later attacks by police and National Guardsmen upon the marchers) and animation that looks as if it were rotoscoped. The animation is used primarily for the courtroom scenes and uses an extremely colorful pallette, that embues each scene with a garish, almost carnival-like appearance--which is very appropriate given the nature of the trial.This is such a beautifully crafted film that I'm afraid I could never do it justice. The real tale is told in two parallel threads, one is the trial and the other is the protest march. They ultimately twist together to form the complete story of what actually happened and who these people really were. WEll worth watching.
½ January 24, 2009
interesting documentary about the protests in chicago at the democratic national convention in 1968. the voice acted animated recreation of the trial is hit and miss but the archival footage is fascinating.
April 16, 2014
Imaginative documentary of the infamous Chicago trial.
½ March 24, 2011
An admirable effort to tell the story of a critical event in United States history. Worth seeing for the rock soundtrack alone (extra points for not using "For What It's Worth" once)... and attorney Leonard Weinglass playing himself.
½ May 4, 2010
Midway through Brett Morgen's dauntless documentary "Chicago 10", decades-old news footage beholds then-Chicago Mayor Richard R. Daley answering the question "Will it be a good convention?" referring to the 1968 Democratic Convention, which was held at Chicago's International Amphitheatre and ran for four days, from August 26 to August 29. His response was this: "The best ever held." Whether the political convocation was, in fact, the best ever held or not, it is certainly one of the most memorable in American history. Why? The Chicago Seven and the trial of the Chicago Eight (a.k.a. the Conspiracy Eight).

The Chicago Seven is Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner, each a representative of either the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE) or the Youth International Party (the "Yippies"). After leading thousands upon thousands of activists/demonstrators into war-protesting marches, these seven, along with an eighth person, Black Panther Party activist Bobby Seale, were indicted and tried in court in 1969 for conspiracy and inciting to riot (among other charges). As the trial went on for nearly five months, crowds of protestors accrued outside of the courtroom, initiating crowd control security from the U.S. National Guard.

"Chicago 10" (the ninth and tenth inclusions are defense attorney William Kunstler and prosecutor Tom Foran) is a boldly original new brand of documentary filmmaking that mixes a fair dose of trippy animation with a hansom helping of archive footage/news feed. It's a comedy, of sorts, largely for the singular fact that it showcases the inspired, revolutionary comedians of the infamous Conspiracy Trial (mainly Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin), but its more dramatic than funny, and it benefits greatly from its lopsided focus on the historical content that gives the film its purpose. But the history behind the Chicago Seven/Conspiracy Eight and the judicial mockery that followed is 40 years old -- and society has since changed.

Fear not, for Brett Morgen knows this.

As he did for 2002's "The Kid Stays in the Picture", a shapely exercise in both biographical transposition (it's based on movie producer Robert Evans' '94 autobiography) and industry knowledge, Brett Morgen (who co-directed "Kid" with Nanette Burstein) delivers his subject material as though to be interpreted by only today's young potential voters. Despite the genre tag, "Chicago 10" briskly reels along like any other Hollywood production -- a value helped greatly by its intimidating voice cast*, used for the illustrated scenes -- abstaining from possibly momentum-killing interviews, and instead using digitized courtroom farce to describe the topical event timeline. That's one of the impressive qualities of 10 -- it modernizes a 40-year-old headline in a way that can be heard even amidst our nation's present disconnected population (heck, it even features music by Beastie Boys, Eminem, and Rock's ultimate anti-political group, Rage Against the Machine).

In the end, however, as I alluded to earlier, what makes this Morgen work a winning one is the mass amounts of archive video recordings -- some charming (virtually every bit that features Abbie) and others ghastly (the culminating riot clip is terrifying and infuriating) -- which mediate and overcome the cultural conformity/richness of its vibrant style and allow audiences of both youthful and subdued mindsets to appreciate the challenge for change and moral righteousness presented by the Chicago Seven, nonviolent activism everywhere, and this motion picture.

*Hank Azaria (as Abbie Hoffman/Allen Ginsberg), Mark Ruffalo (as Jerry Rubin), Nick Nolte (as Tom Foran), Liev Schrieber (as William Kunstler), Dylan Baker (as David Dellinger), Jeffrey Wright (as Bobby Seale), and Roy Scheider (as Judge Julius Hoffman)
November 22, 2008
[i]Chicago 10[/i] is not your typical documentary. The use of stylized animation and celebrity voice talents in the court scenes is very effective, but the excess of archival footage with little narration leads to a sense of no direction, and the events shown, while important, didn't seem affecting. I wish there had been more explanation and a greater focus on the actual men on trial, rather than so many shots of police brutality and such. Unique and bold to a point, and after that, typical and dull.
½ October 12, 2008
Chicago 10 (2008): "We got to let Johnson and the Democrats know that we don't support their fucking war." - Jerry Rubin

An animated/archival recreation of the violence that erupted in the city of Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention (DNC) and the trial against MOBE and the Yippies (Youth International Party) that followed. Adapted from the court transcripts of the USA vs. the Chicago 8 (the title "10" comes from adding defense attorneys William Kunstler and Leorard Weinglass).

"The Democratic National Convention is about to begin in a Police State. There just doesn't seem to be any other way to say it." - CBS' Walter Cronkite

The Chicago Police were already jittery. The DNC riots were hot on the heels of the May 1968 West Side race riots that followed Martin Luther King's death. In addition, the Vietnam War was not going well. By the time the DNC was convened in Chicago in late August, 19,272 Americans had been killed in the three years of fighting, with Lyndon Johnson (the President of the United States) raising the monthly draft rate to 35,000.

Using Rotoscope animation techniques, the film of the trial (as I previously mentioned) was adapted from the court transcripts. Hank Azaria (The Simpsons - Chief Wiggum), the late Roy Scheider (Jaws) and Jefrey Wright (Syriana) performed the voices of Abbey Hoffman, the tragically comical Judge Julius Hoffman, and Bobby Seale respectively.

"There's drama here, heavy hell-ified drama, beyond what you see in the animation." - Bobby Seal (during a phone interview with the Telegraph)

Powerful. I can remember sitting on the floor, watching the bits of riot coverage on the screen. I was just 16 at the time, and already radicalized. I was horrified at the Republicans who had put up Nixon/Agnew while the Democrats had dissolved into chaos over the war. Still, I was hoping beyond hope that Humprey would get elected. My parents looked on with grim expressions, wondering if the war would end before I turned 18.

The sacrifice made by the young folks in Chicago in 1968 and in many other subsequent showdowns, including the tragic shootings at Kent State, continue to resonate today. That sacrifice forced the George W. Bush government to steer clear of the draft for Iraq and, instead, institute the Stop-Loss program (forced re-enlistment) to maintain troop levels.
August 29, 2008
If you are selling a "comic" documentary, please let us know in advance. If I wanted comics, I'd buy a comic book. The movie treatment sucks.
August 26, 2008
:fresh: :fresh: :fresh: [color=sandybrown][b]1/2[/b][/color] (out of four)

[b][i]Chicago 10[/i][/b] is an innovating and intriguing documentary that combines actual footage and stunning animation in telling the story of demonstraitors who distrupted the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention.
[/QUOTE] [/i][/b]
I was very interested in the subject matter and the fact that the filmmakers were able to bring a new spin and a new way in presenting a documentary made this all the more engrossing.
½ August 21, 2008
Great subject, very informative, but the animated segments are irritating and distract from the power of the subject matter. It's amazing that it all happened to begin with.
April 30, 2008
Half documentary, half animated, Chicago 10 is a nice blend of animation and actual footage of the events that occured at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The film mixes various animated trial sequences, that are adapted from the actual court transcripts, and acual footage of the demonstrations over the 4 day period. The film as a whole stands out as a wondrous look back on the events that certainly pertain to the present situation in Iraq and gives a great history lesson that you can really feel a part of even if you werent even born yet as in my case. By the end of the film you feel amazed that these events actually took place. Now as for the animated court scenes that are voiced over by big names such as Nich Nolte, Mark Ruffalo, and Roy Schneider are enough to carry the idea despite the visuals not being impressive. In the end the film transports you to a time otherwise not attainable.
Page 1 of 12