So the other day I got to go to an advance screening of The Conspirator, which stars James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin Kline, Jonathan Groff (LOVE), Alexis Bledel, and a random Justin Long. The movie is about the trial of the people involved in the assassination of President Lincoln, specifically Mary Surratt, and focuses on her lawyer’s struggle to defend her in an atmosphere of fear and vengeance.
Directed by Robert Redford, it’s the debut film of the American Film Company. This film production company was founded in 2008 on the belief that real life is often more compelling than fiction and plans to produce films about America’s past. Some of its other productions besides The Conspirator are The Arsenal, about John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, and Midnight Riders, about Paul Revere’s midnight ride. I look forward to both of these films, especially if they’re as good as The Conspirator.
If you’re a fan of courtroom dramas or history, you will love this film. It tells a story that you don’t offer hear in the classroom. The film also provides some interesting parallels to the post-9/11 climate of fear and a suspension of the law. In fact, some of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton’s dialogue (spoken by Kevin Kline) could have said by Dick Cheney today.
AMDB Rating: Go see in theaters. It comes out April 15th, the 146th anniversary of the death of President Lincoln.