And Justice for All
Starring: Robin Wright Penn, James
McAvoy, Evan Rachel Wood,
Alesix Bledel, Justin Long,
Tom Wilkinson, Norman Reedus,
Kevin Kline, Toby Kebbell,
Danny Huston, Stephen Root,
Johnny Simmons, Colm Meany
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 123 minutes
Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Director: Robert Redford
Executive Producer: Jeremiah Samuels
Producer: Brian Peter Falk, Bill
Holderman, Robert Redford,
Greg Shapiro, Robert Stone,
Writer: James Solomon, Gregory
Address Comments To:Jon Feltheimer, CEO
Lionsgate Films AKA Lions Gate Films
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200; Fax: (310) 255-3870
Following the end of the Civil War and in the wake of Lincoln’s assassination, the country is in turmoil, and the public demands justice for their murdered President. The War Secretary, along with the military, quickly rounds up a group of co-conspirators believed to have partnered with John Wilkes Booth in Lincoln’s assassination. Among the prisoners is Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), a boarding-house owner and mother of one of the alleged conspirators who has escaped to Canada, John Surratt.
The Southern-born Mary is to be tried before a Northern military tribunal. Her defense attorney, Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy), a decorated war captain who fought for the Union, also wants revenge for Lincoln’s death just like the rest of the officers in the tribunal jury.
However, as the trial unfolds, Aiken uncovers an even greater conspiracy by the tribunal officials, the Attorney General and even the War Secretary: a conspiracy to sabotage the laws of the U.S. Constitution in an effort to give the American public swift justice. Aiken’s initial reluctance to defend Mary turns into a battle to defend not only a woman who may be wrongly accused but also the Constitution he has sworn to uphold.
THE CONSPIRATOR is an excellent, dramatic tale. Robin Wright and James McAvoy are both brilliant in their roles. The supporting cast is also absolutely superb, and Robert Redford’s direction is masterful. The story is compelling and expertly told. There are some liberties taken with mild historical revision in order to serve the dramatic arc (though, as with many historical dramas, more may be found by additional in-depth historical research).
The movie has a largely moral, yet mixed, worldview. There are some strong, patriotic elements that positively portray truth, justice and the U.S. Constitution; but there is also immoral, unbiblical behavior by the military tribunal officials, the Attorney General and the War Secretary. There’s also strong, Christian content as Mary’s character is a devout Catholic. Christian prayer is depicted, and Scripture is quoted. On the other hand, another character accuses the Bible of being full of inconsistencies. Also, there’s a graphic hanging execution and brief foul language.
That said, the negative thematic elements do not overshadow this expertly made movie with tremendous performances. All in all, despite the cautionary aspects, mature media-wise viewers probably will enjoy THE CONSPIRATOR, a powerful dramatic tale.
THE CONSPIRATOR is an excellent dramatic tale, with superb performances. The story is powerfully told. Robert Redford’s direction is masterful. The movie’s worldview is largely moral, with overtly positive Christian content, including prayer. However, there’s some mixed content in THE CONSPIRATOR, including immoral behavior, strong violence, brief foul language, and one character who falsely claims the Bible has inconsistencies.