Chicago 10 - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Chicago 10 Reviews

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April 16, 2014
Imaginative documentary of the infamous Chicago trial.
January 22, 2013
Fear Effect The Movie! Except not. More animated bull that keeps those lovely lesbians off the big screen.
½ November 3, 2012
Well done documentary.
October 1, 2012
Interesting combination of archival footage, graphic arts, etc. to tell story.
½ April 12, 2012
Groovey..thanks con!
½ February 29, 2012
An entertaining and inventive documentary that is as hilarious as it is frustrating -- and the humor comes from actual court transcripts, not from clever narration or scripting. Really a must-see.
½ April 2, 2011
I learned some history watching this. However, I think that the documentoary could have been a bit more matter of fact. Without having done other reading on this I seems like the story was slanted a bit toward the protestors.
½ March 25, 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 February 10, 2011
A captivating and gripping take on the darkest era in our government's history.
½ September 18, 2010
A well made and interesting animation-docunemtary, but the ending is pretty underwhelming.
½ August 16, 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)
August 10, 2010
Awesome Awesome Doc. Very helpful.
June 18, 2010
yippies... giving inspiration... nice style, excellent documentary
½ June 14, 2010
USA then, USA now. Nothing has changed. They thought that their voices and their efforts would change America. They didn't fail, Americans did. Vietnam = Iraq...
½ June 7, 2010
An entertaining and inventive documentary that is as hilarious as it is frustrating -- and the humor comes from actual court transcripts, not from clever narration or scripting. Really a must-see.
½ June 4, 2010
i was hoping for more animated courtroom scenes and i think it would be a great thing to explore other notable trials in this manner. MJ or OJ anyone? my biggest problem with this doc is it's sooooooo one-sided. i'm not saying it's the wrong side, but a little bit of where daley and the police were coming from would've been better. and really chicago? daley? for that long?! but with it being so one-sided i do have to say that prior to this i hadn't been introduced to the key figures in making the chicago protests go down, just the fact that they occurred.
½ March 30, 2010
Not nearly so good as the HBO film it's near-impossible to get.
March 21, 2010
After watching so many serious and haunting documentaries on '60s-era revolution in the United States ("The Weather Underground," "Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst," "Sir! No Sir!"), it was refreshing to finally watch a more whimsical and humorous depiction of the 1968 protests at the Democratic National Convention.

Through a completely re-enacted (and animated) courtroom scene for the famous "Chicago 10" (the scapegoats who were tried and convicted for all that went wrong with the protests), animated back-story interviews, and gritty archival footage, the filmmakers are able to showcase not simply the anger of the American public, and the American youth, at the sorry state of affairs in Vietnam, but also the infectious nature of revolution. We see in this documentary how easy it is to get swept up in protest when the establishment is clearly wrong, and when you sense the blood in the water: that you must do something, anything, to disrupt the power structure, and that you are on the right side of the battle.

The film, of course, also contains some of the grittiest and most violent footage that I've ever seen of the police beatings at the protests. Some of it is very, very disturbing, as we watch pissed-off police just lunge at the crowd and start swinging night sticks wildly. Were they right to be pissed off that their power structure was crumbling? Sure. But it feels like watching a parent--annoyed at their child for making too much noise--beat the child senseless. And we get to see the truly evil nature of some of Chicago's old political establishment; it almost feels like "Gangs of New York," the politicians reducing to sub-human those who disagree with them or who would threaten their image...

In fact, some of the archival footage is so violent and shocking that I would compare it to footage from some of the old Civil Rights marches. Yes, circumstances were very different, but some of the violence and disregard for human life are very similar. And to be honest, "Chicago 10" is most interesting for how it showcases the dramatic difference between modern protests (Tea Parties, Iraq protests) and the protests of 1968. We see, pretty clearly, that the '68 protesters were very much like Civil Rights marchers, as they were indeed fighting to protect our right to free speech and freedom of assembly. In the face of a mayor who boldly proclaimed that he would suppress any protests, and who was vocal about using violence to suppress the protests, we have thousands of young people who gathered in Chicago anyway. Whether you agree with the politics or not is irrelevant; as you watch, you continually ask yourself, "Can I imagine any of this happening to the Tea Partiers today?"

In the end, then, you begin to see that the risks that these protesters made did indeed protect our freedoms.
March 8, 2010
A good movie about the sixties. Makes you wonder if anything was learned from that terrible abuse of power.
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.
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