The Conspirator: Movie Review
Cast: James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Evan Rachel
Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Justin Long, Kevin Kline
Director: Robert Redford
Back to the
time of Lincoln's assassination for this very familiar tale of a lawyer torn
between duty and a client who may be innocent but facing charges which will see
McAvoy stars as Frederick Aiken, a
returned Union war hero who's now working as legal counsel as they all cope with
the aftermath of events following the assassination of US President Lincoln at
Seven men and one woman, Mary
Surratt (Wright) are arrested for the murder and conspiracy and Aiken is given
the job of defending Surratt of the charges.
despite initial reticence to defend her, believing it's abhorrent to all he
holds dear, Aiken soon begins to realise that she is innocent and fights tooth
and nail to ensure she lives.
However, it appears
the odds are against them.
An historical drama
this may be but in many ways, it's a very traditional run of the mill legal
drama; the tenets of every John Grisham style drama are there; the client who's
being framed, the young lawyer who doesn't want the case but realises it's his
chance to shine - they're all on hand.
thanks to a masterful cast; particularly McAvoy and Wright's Surratt whose demure outlook makes you empathise with her from the get go; this film is
watchable - even if it does fall into the worthy but dull category at times.
In many ways, it feels like you're watching a play
with a cast who're acting their socks off but following a legal drama
adaptation. Redford's direction doesn't bring a lot of life to the story (he
even uses a series of montages of paper headlines at one stage) but it's a well
told conspiracy story which doesn't quite reach the heights it aspires to.