The antiwar protests surrounding the 1968 Democratic convention and the notorious conspiracy trial that followed a year later have become so integral to 60s mythology that you'd think any self-respecting documentarian would come after their romance with a sledgehammer. But Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture) has made an electrifying picture (2007) by doing exactly the opposite: in the brightly colored motion-capture animation used to re-create the trial, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, Tom Hayden, and the other defendants seem like freaky superheroes. The courtroom sequences alternate with news footage documenting the protests and ensuing police riot, some of it strikingly fresh despite the well-worn topic. We remember the violence of those days, but Morgen reminds us also of the absurdist comedy that the yippies brought to the protests and the trial, and the soundtrack of aggressive tunes by Rage Against the Machine, Eminem, and the Beastie Boys makes plain the director's desire to inflame dissent for the Iraq war 40 years later. 103 min.
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