The Conspirator

The Conspirator

(2010)

Historical drama from director Robert Redford about the trial of an alleged conspirator in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.... More

Mary Surratt (Robin Wright) is the lone female charged as a co-conspirator when the group who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln are put on trial. As the whole nation turns against her, she is forced to rely on her reluctant lawyer Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy), a 28-year-old Union war-hero, to uncover the truth and save her life. Also stars Rachel Evan Wood, Kevin Kline and Tom Wilkinson.Hide

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Flicks Review

There are two pertinent facts to consider before passing judgement on director Robert Redford’s historical courtroom drama, The Conspirator. The first is that it’s based on real events that happened at a crucial point in the dawning of America, making Redford duty bound to tell the truth. The second is the universally recognised trope dictating you never let the truth get in the way of a good story.... More

How close Redford sticks to the actual truth – as opposed to ‘movie truth’ – in this film about the trial of Mary Surratt for her accused role in the successful conspiracy to kill President Abraham Lincoln is outside this reviewer’s knowledge of American history, but he certainly puts forward a compelling version of events.

And whilst Redford teases as much mystery out of the history books as is presumably possible, it’s a shame that, when court is in session, he’s guilty of presenting exactly what you expect upon hearing the term ‘courtroom drama’. There’s the reluctant, disbelieving-of-his-client, hotshot young lawyer (played here by an on-form James McAvoy), his wisened mentor (Tom Wilkinson), a noble victim (Robin Wright), the rule-breaking opposition and a morally corrupt judge all present and accounted for and all behaving exactly as you’d expect.

Redford’s film treads familiar ground but he walks it confidently, with a purposeful pace and an especially solid cast. He may be guilty of not attempting to elevate the genre above its recognised mores, but Redford is resolutely not guilty of failing to provide a superbly crafted and at times gripping example of the form.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 2 ratings, 3 reviews
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mmm

BY spaceman superstar

hard to say how much is actual truth, and how much is just "based" on real events, but made for a good movie. good acting by james mcavoy


BY Brian1 superstar

At least a 3 star, flicks review acturately reflects this movies strengths.


Its hard to believe that the young lawyer Frederick Aiken could have the nouse and educated legal mind to even get the highly esteemed generals,jurors,judge to consider his argument;which he did do. Given he was a war hero and ranked officer was a far cry from having a learned and experienced bravado that is befitting to a wiser or older counseller. Robin so credible as Mary Surrate. McAvoy delivered well his dialogue in the court room. He has done some far better roles.


The Press Reviews

55% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Robert Redford’s first film since Lions For Lambs is a dull courtroom drama about the trial of eight people charged with conspiring to kill Lincoln. Full Review

  • This methodical courtroom drama is charged with impassioned performances and an unimpeachable liberal message. But its stodgy emphasis on telling over showing will limit its reach to Civil War buffs and self-selecting older viewers. Full Review

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