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The Conspirator (2010)

 -  Crime | Drama | History  -  15 April 2011 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 20,571 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 113 user | 193 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

Mary Surratt is the lone female charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination trial of Abraham Lincoln. As the whole nation turns against her, she is forced to rely on her reluctant lawyer to uncover the truth and save her life.

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Cast

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Joseph Holt
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David Hunter
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John Lloyd
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Judge Wylie
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Storyline

In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President, the Vice-President, and the Secretary of State. The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt, 42, owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous back-drop of post-Civil War Washington, newly-minted lawyer, Frederick Aiken, a 28-year-old Union war-hero, reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal. As the trial unfolds, Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait and hostage in order to capture the only conspirator to have escaped a massive manhunt, her own son. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One bullet killed the President. But not one man.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violent content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

15 April 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El conspirador  »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,509,048 (USA) (15 April 2011)

Gross:

$11,538,204 (USA) (9 September 2011)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mary Surratt's house remains as a historic museum in what was then Surrattsville, Maryland. The U.S. Post Office soon renamed the town Robeysville, due to the notoriety of the Surratt name. In 1879, Robeysville was renamed to Clinton, Maryland. See more »

Goofs

At one point in the film, one of the characters refers to Aiken as "Frederick Sebastian Aiken". In actuality, his middle name was 'Augustus'. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Frederick Aiken: Two men standing at the Pearly Gates. The first man says, "How'd you die?" Second says, "I froze to death. How 'bout you?" And the, uh, second man says, "Well, I thought my... my wife was being unfaithful to me, so I ran all the way home. And burst into the bedroom. She just..."
See more »


Soundtracks

Dreams of Happier Days
Arranged by Linden L. Parr, 1864
Performed by Kelli Horton
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Redford's version of historical event is flawed but interesting...
21 April 2011 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Once again, the young actor JAMES McAVOY gives an earnest and altogether convincing portrait of a man assigned to be the defense lawyer for Mary Surratt, accused as one of the conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Since the whole story is told from his point of view, it emerges as a realistic depiction of how events might have unfolded, taking no firm stand on the innocence or guilt of the accused. As the nation mourns the sudden death of its leader taken from them just as the Civil War ended, we are told that justice must be swift to heal the wounds of the public and satisfy a thirst for revenge. It's that viewpoint that makes this film relevant today, in view of other controversial historical events, but first and foremost the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

One glaring quibble: Apparently, to fully immerse the viewer in this time of history and to suit the flavor of the grim tale, Redford has chosen to use very muted color photography so that this is almost a sepia tone experience. But do we have to be reminded so flagrantly that this was the candlelit era? Scenes outside of the courtroom could have used flashes of real color, as could the social circle interiors of other scenes instead of keeping the low-key lighting so constant. It became a distraction for me. He may as well have used glorious B&W.

Other technical aspects are fine and the background score is effective without becoming overwhelming. ROBIN WRIGHT PENN plays Mary Surratt with quiet dignity and strength. KEVIN KLINE is almost unrecognizable as the stubbornly determined EDWIN STANTON seeking quick justice, EVAN RACHEL WOOD is effective as the distraught daughter Anna Surratt, and JOHNNY SIMMONS is sobering as the accused woman's son who manages to escape imprisonment for his role in the John Wilkes Booth caper. His character, unfortunately, isn't fleshed out at all.

Biggest supporting role goes to TOM WILKINSON as the man who urges McAvoy to take the defense case against his wishes. He and McAvoy share most of the running time on screen and do magnificent jobs.

History buffs will no doubt find this more interesting than the average movie fan looking for a more adventurous look at the past, but despite flaws, it is competently made and does recreate the actual events in a satisfying manner by use of flashbacks and an intelligent script. But did it have to be so dark?


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Why did this film bomb at the box office? ScreenwriterVA
Why no security for a war-time president ? humayunimam
Mary Surratt - guilty or innocent? gen57
Who has read 'Killing Lincoln' by Bill O'Reilly? meso97ts
Loved it ! geoffreyudin1
I am really missing some info! auntbaby
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