Thousands of anti-war protesters take to the streets of a major Midwestern city during a presidential nominating convention and clash with heavily armed police. Substitute 1968 with 2008, Vietnam with Iraq, Chicago with Minneapolis-St. Paul and the Democrats with the Republicans and DVD release of “Chicago 10” seems as timely as ever.
Oscar-nominated director Brett Morgen’s Sundance opener combines visually arresting animation sequences with archival news footage and a heavy-hitting soundtrack to bring to life the demonstrations and subsequent courtroom proceedings as the protest organizers are put on trial.
Barebones political documentary is noticeably lacking in extras, which is disappointing given the opportunity to make parallels and provide context to this presidential election year. One can’t help feel that this was a missed chance to engage young Americans in a further dialogue beyond simply watching the feature itself.
Still, following a limited bigscreen release in only 14 theaters, “Chicago 10” could ride the increased political interest among the nation’s youth as the Obama-McCain race to the White House accelerates to a fever pitch. Perhaps popping this DVD in the player after watching the current conventions will be education enough.