Movie Review: The Conspirator
Starring: James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Kevin Kline and Evan Rachel Wood
Following Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on the eve of April 14, 1865, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President, the Vice President and Secretary of State. Among them is Mary Surratt (Wright), the owner of a boarding house where it was believed John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s murderer, and his gang met to plot the killing. Defending her is the young and ambitious Frederick Aiken (McAvoy), a 28-year-old war hero taking on the toughest case imaginable, who soon realises that his client may in fact be innocent. Realising that Mary is being held in custody as bait to track down her son John (Johnny Simmons), the only member of the conspirators to have escaped the law, Frederick resolves to do what he can to ensure justice prevails and the innocent remain that way. A fascinating insight into one of history’s most famous events, one that I certainly knew little about, and another great performance from Atonement’s James McAvoy, but Robert Redford’s The Consipirator leaves too many questions unanswered and is, well, dull. A courtroom drama set in ye olde times, it’s hard to stay one hundred percent hooked on the film from start to finish, despite the A-list cast and Oscar-winning director’s touch.