"And Justice for All"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(BB, PP, Pa, Ab, CC, RH, LL, VV, AA, D, MM) Strong moral worldview promotes truth above tyranny with a strong patriotic theme as defense lawyer seeks the truth of upholding the Constitution in a court case where the jury seems resolute in sentencing a woman who may or may not be wrongly accused just so the nation perceives swift justice in the face of Lincoln’s assassination, with some mixed eclectic pagan content including unbiblical, immoral behavior by several of the prosecutors and the War Secretary at the expense of the truth and the Constitution plus one character makes an anti-biblical comment about inconsistencies in the Scripture, but with positive overt Christian elements such as Christian prayer depicted, strong Catholic character depicted, Scripture quoted, and priest issues last rites, plus some mild revisionist history in order to further the dramatic arc of the storyline (though further research and analysis may reveal more); 10 obscenities, two profanities; strong violence includes Civil War imagery, soldier is shot in the leg, man is violently stabbed in his bed by assassin and President Lincoln is shot in the head, assassin breaks his leg while trying to escape, soldiers burn a barn and assassin is shot by a soldier, and graphic public execution by hanging is depicted; no sexuality but one unmarried kiss; no nudity; alcohol use depicted in several scenes and one tavern owner is known as being a drunkard; cigarette smoking depicted; and, lying from several people, especially while under oath in court, conspiracy, threats, blackmail, threats, vandalism, and son leaves his mother behind to pay with her life for his crimes.
THE CONSPIRATOR, directed by Robert Redford and based on a true story, is the compelling and dramatic tale of Mary Surratt, the first woman to ever be executed in the United States for her alleged role in the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.
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.