James McAvoy, Robin Wright
April 15, 2011
Roadside Attractions, (Lionsgate)
The American Film Company
2 hours 2 minutes
When I first found out about The Conspirator, I had no intention of ever seeing it. I just thought it was another political documentary playing. In fact, the first time that I ever saw a trailer for this movie, let alone find out what it's about was about two weeks ago. The movie did look intriguing, but I figured that I would wait for it on DVD or pay per view. But in a twist of events, my grandparents invited me to attend the movie with them. Me being the kind of person who would never pass up a movie opportunity of course tagged along. And now here I am, still amazed by this movie, telling you what I thought. The Conspirator is a well acted, sometimes violent, and most of the time shocking and sad film that helps people learn about real events with the help of Hollywood. Needless to say, The Conspirator is a movie you would want to put on your must see list.
Only one bullet killed President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. But more than one person was involved in the assassination. One of the accused is Mary Surratt, an owner of a boarding house whose son, John Surratt was a main conspirator in Lincoln's assassination. In a time of revenge and anger, the government would stop at nothing to get anyone accused of conspiring with Lincoln's death to be killed themselves. Mary's only chance of freedom lies in the hands of Fredrick Aiken, a soldier in the Civil War who too wants Mary dead. Mary claims to be innocent, yet she won't give her son up. It's up to Fredrick to save this woman before the grieving government do what they think is right for the sake of taking revenge over their president's death.
I would've given this movie a perfect four star rating. But I just couldn't give it a perfect rating for one particular reason. I believed that they could've had more scenes with Robin Wright in them. Ms. Wright is a great actress and was terrific in this movie, but I felt that a couple more scenes with her in it, letting her spend some more time with the audience watching her story would've made this a perfect movie. But nevertheless, the performances in this movie were superb. I give the most props to James McAvoy, who's performance as Fredrick was one of the best performances I've seen this year. It's possibly better than Jake Gyllenhaal's performance as Colter Stevens in Source Code, which is also one of the best movies of 2011 so far. In my opinion, his performance is Oscar worthy and should be considered for at least a nomination. Heck, almost all of the performances in this movie are Oscar-worthy. For the performances alone, this is quite a fantastic movie.
Robert Redford is a master at his craft, and clearly knows how to bring a true story to the silver screen. I don't think that any other director could've brought this story up as a movie properly. Yes, I'm even including the great Steven Spielberg in this opinion. Mr. Redford knows how to turn what is just any other social studies subject and make it into a movie where you don't even feel that you're learning anything. If school was made into movies like this, I would probably ace every test given to me by the teachers. In fact, this movie is just appropriate enough to be shown in social studies classes when learning about Lincoln and his assassination. Not just because it teaches the audience about true and shocking history, but also gives us pure Hollywood entertainment that will satisfy any movie buff. This is one of the must see films of 2011, and it should be seen by any student or history buff. If you haven't seen The Conspirator, the least you can do is catch it when it's out on DVD, that is if you have no intention of seeing it in theaters.
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