6.9/10
27,557
153 user 203 critic

The Conspirator (2010)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, History | 15 April 2011 (USA)
Trailer
2:24 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Robert Redford

Writers:

James D. Solomon (as James Solomon), James D. Solomon (story) (as James Solomon) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James McAvoy ... Frederick Aiken
Robin Wright ... Mary Surratt
Kevin Kline ... Edwin Stanton
Evan Rachel Wood ... Anna Surratt
Tom Wilkinson ... Reverdy Johnson
Justin Long ... Nicholas Baker
Danny Huston ... Joseph Holt
James Badge Dale ... William Hamilton
Colm Meaney ... General Hunter
Alexis Bledel ... Sarah Weston
Johnny Simmons ... John Surratt
Toby Kebbell ... John Wilkes Booth
Jonathan Groff ... Louis Weichmann
Stephen Root ... John Lloyd
John Cullum ... Justice 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Surratt boarding house still stands in Washington, DC's Chinatown. See more »

Goofs

Anne tells Aiken her brother's room is upstairs on the left. He goes upstairs and makes a right into the room. From the camera angle it is on the left, but from Aiken's perspective it is on the right. 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..."
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Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.13 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Marching Through Georgia
Words and Music by Henry Clay Work (as Henry C. Work)
Arranged and Performed by Curtis Roush
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User Reviews

 
Redford's version of historical event is flawed but interesting...
21 April 2011 | by DoylenfSee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 April 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Conspirator See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,506,602, 17 April 2011

Gross USA:

$11,538,204

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,625,544
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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