As restless and flashy as the radicals it valorizes, Chicago 10 is an apocalyptic dispatch from the past refashioned as a slick flyer for the present. Brett Morgen’s account of the 1968 Chicago riots and the conspiracy trial against its organizers has a stylistic hook as catchy as its subject: it combines archival footage—some of it now iconic—with animated recreations of the trial and the incendiary events leading up to it. With both eyes trained on his audience, Morgen frames his movie as a piece of agitprop, an antiwar exhortation to dormant youth, complete with contemporary rabble-rousing songs (Rage Against the Machine, Eminem, Beastie Boys). The result is less history written with lightning than by lightning: the occasional flash illuminates, but a lot of times you’re just left in the dark.
Click here to read Elbert Ventura’s review of Chicago 10.