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The Conspirator

Posted on the 19 April 2011 by Kaiser31083 @andythemovieguy
The ConspiratorAs John Wilkes Booth carried out his monstrous deed in Ford's Theater on April 14. 1865, it was part of a grander plot that included the attempted assassinations of Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward. Following Booth's killing, as the war torn nation further grieved and sought closure on the matter, a group of conspirators were put on trial, among them Mary Surratt. She ran the boarding house where the men stayed at and was the mother of one other men involved in the scheme. A civilian, she was subjected to a military court which amounted to no more than a kangaroo court, with the tribunal making up roles as it pleased. In her defense she was assigned to Frederick Aiken, a young Northern war hero who was more than a little weary of taking the case, well aware of the damage it would due to his career and reputation. The Conspirator is a workmanlike film directed by Robert Redford, who has developed a film that nicely captures Civil War era D.C. with a tinted color texture. The film is well cast as well, with the exception of Robin Wright who I never thought had the makings of an actress and does nothing to change that opinion here. Her Mary Surratt character is one dimensional and bland, though thinking about it that's probably how she was. James McAvoy does his best playing the uninspiring Aiken, though he does have a well realized closing speech. Fine actors fill supporting roles as well: Tom Wilkinson as a Maryland Senator who finds the trial an abomination. Kevin Kline as the Secretary of War, willing to do anything to see the accused convicted. Colm Meaney as a stalwart general leading the trial and Danny Huston, perfect as the bombastic prosecuting attorney. The Conspirator is the first work of The American Film Company, a group that will release historically themed movies. This is a nice start and I look forward to the future films it procures.

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