Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Conspirator Roundup

The Conspirator
, a 2011 film about the plot to kill president Lincoln, is now out on DVD and Blu-ray.

Peter Rainer, "The Conspirator: movie review," Christian Science Monitor, April 15, 2011

Robert Redford’s workmanlike “The Conspirator” is about Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), a Confederate sympathizer who was
executed for her complicity, which she denied, in the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. Tried in a military court as a civilian along with eight other alleged conspirators, she became the first woman to be executed by the United States federal government.

Anthony Lane, "Casualties of War," New Yorker, April 18, 2011

Of the many questions posed by “The Conspirator,” and left unresolved, the most pressing are these: How much did Mary Surratt (Robin Wright) know of the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln? How could she not have known of it, given that some of it was hatched within the respectable boarding house that she ran in Washington, D.C.? If her son John (Johnny Simmons), who certainly did know of the plot, had surrendered to the authorities, rather than remaining on the run, could he have saved his mother’s skin? Why did Andrew Johnson, the new President, reject the last-minute, late-night application by Surratt’s lawyer for a retrial? And was there ever any likelihood, considering the public revulsion at the murder, that she would receive a fair trial in the first place?>>>

Jason Solomons, "The Conspirator – review," Guardian, July 2, 2011

Almost by decree, British actor Tom Wilkinson turns up in mutton chops to play an American senator in Robert Redford's starchy period piece The Conspirator. Has Tom pinched those whiskers from the Hollywood props cupboard, forcing studios to cast him in every historical movie just so they might wrench them back off him during make-up? He's clearly too quick for them. I swear Tom Conti did a similar thing and nicked the FilmFour moustache back in the 1980s. He never gave it back either – he just secretly handed it on to Alfred Molina. I hear the 'tache now lives in Malibu and has its own agent.>>>

Rex Reed, "Movie Review: The Conspirator is Redford’s Best Film in Decades," New York Observer, April 12, 2011

As an iconic actor, conscientious director and liberal political activist, Robert Redford loves history lessons. Everybody knew about white-collar crime in the White House during Watergate, but nobody knew anything about the two reporters who exposed the story until Mr. Redford and Dustin Hoffman played them in All the President’s Men, in the interests of the great profession of journalism. In The Conspirator, Robert Redford the director addresses another footnote to American history that’s left out of textbooks: the little-known story of Mary Surratt, an innocent woman caught up in the U.S. government witch hunt following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. It’s an exhaustively researched, brilliantly scripted, carefully made film that cautiously avoids preachy propaganda of yesteryear, while unavoidably reflecting the similar anxiety, tension and fear of a polarized nation today. What goes around, Mr. Redford seems to be saying, comes around.>>>

1 comment:

PW said...

Just watched the film a few days ago..what an odd coincidence. I think it was an even-handed portrayal by Redford, with solid acting from the leads. Thankfully the screen writer/s showed restraint and stayed away from the historical cliches that often bedevil films about this era.

Interested to see more from the production outfit - The American Film Company - which is focusing on movies about events in U.S. history: