The Twenty-First Century

The Conspirator [2011]

It’s so damn good to sink your teeth into this interesting slice of American history that doesn’t feel the need to bore us with unnecessary details, but rests on clever storytelling, powerful acting, and a wonderful cinematography. As an actor and a filmmaker, Robert Redford can easily be considered as one of the all time greats. He doesn’t star in “The Conspirator”, but as the film’s director, he certainly does a tremendous job, putting his skills at work into this untold tale of American justice, in the aftermath of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The conspirator? Mary Surratt (a fantastic Robin Wright), the only woman charged in the murder of Lincoln. Mary owned the boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others, including her son John, met to plot the president’s murder. Could Mary be guilty as well? The movie provides no definitive answer, yet leaves us wondering whether or not justice was served on that fateful day. If nothing else, the movie is worth watching for James McAvoy’s dynamite performance as a Union captain who is handed the hopeless task of defending Mary in front of a court of law. McAvoy never fails to shine, and steals every scene he appears in, even when he’s sharing the screen with such great actors as Tom Wilkinson and Kevin Kline (keep in mind: he’s a British actor playing an American, and his accent is flawless). Some viewers might be turned off by the lack of action, but if you’re a patient viewer, like myself, then you’re in for a rich and rewarding experience. McAvoy’s performance will burn in your memory. Same goes for the film.

Rating: 3/4

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