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.
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
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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..."
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An eye-opening film, with an exemplary ensemble cast
Robert Redford has assembled an impressively strong cast to bring to the screen a very important and poignant story. Watching this film a couple of weeks ago, I did not know what to expect. What I got was a great film about the trials of the people that were involved behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Robin Wright delivers one of the best performances of her career, in a role that seemed tailor-made for her.
Redford follows up a politically charged film (Lions for Lambs) with a historically charged film, that definitely is not light on the politics. However, he does succeed at presenting the unknown story of a loving mother and clearly stating the events that followed Lincoln's assassination.
The film transported me back in time. Beautifully shot, supported by amazing art direction and costumes, and driven by James McAvoy strong performance, "The Conspirator" stands as a movie for the times, that will definitely be revisited for years to come.
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