April 18, 2011

The Conspirator - 2011

Director: Robert Redford
Writer: James D. Solomon
Starring: James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Tom Wilkinson, Evan Rachel Wood, Kevin Kline

"One bullet may have killed our beloved president. But not one man!" Frederick Aiken (McAvoy), former Union soldier, struggles to defend Mary Surratt (Wright), the woman who owned the boarding house in which John Wilkes Booth and his cohorts hatched the scheme to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.

Robert Redford is a Hollywood legend thanks to both his acting and directing, and he's gathered a phenomenal cast (except the miscast Justin Long, who has thankfully little screentime) to tell this little-known tale from the aftermath of the Civil War.  The script's solid (aside from a line about no one trying to kill a president before), and seems historically accurate to boot. The only complaint I have is that the movie lasts about 20-30 minutes too long. There's a rather pointless scene showing Aiken injured on the battlefield that opens the film, and some ultimately pointless legal actions at the film's end that could also have been omitted. If you're a fan of the historical drama, especially in the Civil War era, I still recommend it. B+

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