Sundance Reviews: "Chicago 10" Is Unique But Flawed; "The Savages" Is Wrenching And True

by | January 20, 2007 | Comments

Here are some short reviews of "Chicago 10" and "The Savages," both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

With its bold amalgamation of archival footage and rotoscope animation, "Chicago 10" is certainly unique. And initially, in the wake of the current debate over a "surge" of U.S. forces in Iraq, Brett Morgen’s film feels joltingly timely: it begins with Lyndon Johnston announcing troop escalation in Vietnam. From there, the film tells the story of the Chicago Seven, the group of radicals that included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Bobby Seale; they were tried on a number of charges, including inciting a riot, in the wake of the violence that surrounded the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The animation is smooth and vibrantly colorful, while the old footage of the Chicago riots is horrifyingly bleak; it’s clear excessive force was used against anti-war protesters, and that the Chicago Seven were railroaded.


"Chicago 10": Talkin’ ’bout a revolution.

But as the movie progresses, something is missing; "Chicago 10" always threatens to make a point or two about the current state of the union, but never quite delivers. Despite being on the right side of history in more than a few ways (not least because the charges against them were ultimately dismissed), the Yippies’ antics (particularly Hoffman’s) can feel pretty anachronistic and childish given the gravity of times. While the filmmakers clearly hoped to light a fire under contemporary audiences, it ultimately feels a bit more like a history lesson, albeit one told with plenty of flair. "Chicago 10" is still an interesting film, but it will have to settle for second place in the "films set during the 1968 Democratic Convention that mix documentary and dramatic styles" sweepstakes behind "Medium Cool."

"Chicago 10" is currently at 80 percent on the Tomatometer; critics have praised the film’s stylistic daring and its depiction of a remarkable moment in history.


Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney in "The Savages"

People die in the movies all the time. However, not many films show the untidiness of the slow journey into darkness with as much honesty and earned poignancy as "The Savages," Tamara Jenkins‘ assured second feature. Wendy (Laura Linney) and John (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are adult siblings whose estranged father Lenny (Phillip Bosco) is suffering from dementia, and his care has fallen unexpectedly into their hands. Wendy seems on the verge of a crisis already. She’s underemployed and romantically unfulfilled, and her hand-wringing over her father’s care may stem from her own troubles. John isn’t in the best emotional shape either, but he’s more of a realist; he accepts the messiness of the situation and is looking to deal with it as efficiently as possible ("We’re taking better care of the old man than he ever took of us," he says). All of the performances are excellent, but Bosco’s is particularly fine. He doesn’t play the old man with warmth or wisdom, and that’s just right; this man is himself right up to the end. Despite its gloomy subject matter, "The Savages" is surprisingly entertaining, featuring well-drawn characters, some bitter laughs, and an aching humanity throughout.

Tag Cloud

San Diego Comic-Con diversity Film Hulu Christmas Sundance Trivia Chernobyl cancelled TV series Pride Month adventure Freeform TNT anime cooking hispanic Arrowverse National Geographic Spring TV Pet Sematary HBO Max WarnerMedia First Reviews comic Star Trek thriller MCU Holiday USA Network Martial Arts Apple TV Plus TV cults A&E APB Adult Swim sitcom Britbox GoT Summer justice league Syfy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Music halloween Esquire robots green book Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Writers Guild of America TV Land Watching Series Fall TV slashers Calendar finale Extras zombies 20th Century Fox batman Tomatazos Family psychological thriller Lucasfilm TCM spain kids Cartoon Network BET harry potter Mary poppins foreign Dark Horse Comics Country OWN unscripted Fantasy PBS Paramount NBC Trailer YouTube Red 2015 christmas movies Thanksgiving stand-up comedy Musicals natural history cancelled television breaking bad Year in Review Musical 2018 SXSW E3 DirecTV singing competition 21st Century Fox Apple Star Wars Reality canceled Universal rotten movies we love YouTube USA IFC spider-man IFC Films CBS Schedule Mystery TIFF Election social media Cosplay TBS aliens TCA revenge medical drama Shudder cars Super Bowl spy thriller Mindy Kaling cats elevated horror Logo latino Biopics Opinion festivals Amazon Prime Video TLC Brie Larson Animation spinoff Lifetime CMT Premiere Dates discovery YouTube Premium Paramount Network Hallmark Christmas movies canceled TV shows game of thrones SDCC Disney Black Mirror Masterpiece 007 cops History anthology Apple TV+ AMC Television Academy crime drama Marvel Television Mary Tyler Moore free movies dc TruTV VH1 Tumblr VICE hist comics Pixar Kids & Family romantic comedy police drama Warner Bros. Peacock Emmys strong female leads supernatural Awards true crime Nickelodeon Rom-Com politics DC streaming service The Walking Dead Disney+ Disney Plus book travel Stephen King ratings serial killer Walt Disney Pictures Columbia Pictures Classic Film Comedy Central ITV award winner Spectrum Originals period drama Netflix Rocketman The Witch Awards Tour Oscars A24 based on movie Comics on TV teaser crime thriller WGN adaptation Fox News screenings binge Certified Fresh blaxploitation Marvel Studios independent cartoon Hallmark Amazon richard e. Grant CNN Winners game show biography werewolf Elton John renewed TV shows Interview historical drama Comedy TV renewals Grammys Shondaland vampires ABC Family TCA 2017 cinemax El Rey Rocky cancelled Podcast The Purge Mary Poppins Returns crossover Binge Guide FXX Creative Arts Emmys boxoffice Quiz Western Disney Plus ghosts Polls and Games BBC President Lifetime Christmas movies mockumentary Toys spanish language children's TV Showtime transformers The CW Horror dceu Countdown Vudu Anna Paquin Best and Worst CW Seed Photos MTV movies New York Comic Con 2016 Crunchyroll Song of Ice and Fire dramedy what to watch HBO Rock Sundance Now nature Character Guide BBC America tv talk See It Skip It ESPN animated technology romance streaming Crackle Cannes television golden globes Pop series YA blockbuster Superheroes Nat Geo science fiction Set visit RT21 Video Games Film Festival Turner psycho Spike RT History FX Epix versus indie dragons FOX 71st Emmy Awards docudrama DGA disaster political drama Mudbound Lionsgate Valentine's Day casting space Trophy Talk theme song DC Universe Acorn TV mutant Infographic 2020 Ghostbusters south america Sci-Fi joker Amazon Prime 24 frames X-Men Sneak Peek CBS All Access Holidays Ovation sports Nominations doctor who miniseries E! SundanceTV Marvel Food Network The Arrangement Action composers Bravo Heroines GIFs Drama LGBTQ Captain marvel Netflix Christmas movies Women's History Month Ellie Kemper Starz Emmy Nominations cancelled TV shows Disney Channel First Look Comic Book Box Office quibi jamie lee curtis 2017 Red Carpet Sony Pictures sequel war Marathons MSNBC NYCC toy story GLAAD Reality Competition talk show zero dark thirty crime zombie DC Comics Tarantino American Society of Cinematographers ABC LGBT Turner Classic Movies facebook video Pirates witnail Teen PaleyFest comiccon Superheroe 45 Winter TV Disney streaming service 2019