Friday, July 15, 2011

the conspirator - movie review

The debut film from The American Film Company; their mission is to make historically accurate films about America's past. Directed by Robert Redford with a star-studded cast.

Even so, the start of this movie was a rocky start for me. I wasn't that enticed with the opening scene. It came off more of a TV movie than anything else..about the civil war. But then again, perhaps Justin Long just isn't meant for historical movies. I couldn't take him seriously.

They would make a cute couple in some other film.

But the movie definitely gets better. This is the true tale of what our government did to one woman who was at the wrong place at the right time. Or how our military system worked in that era. Or, how women just didn't have many rights back then.

Mary with her reluctant lawyer. It was good to see how a young captain finds his passion.

I had read a book, some time ago which I cannot find the title of, based on the first real murder in New York City which happened a little earlier than the civil war, but not by much. Truth be told, there were murders before then, it was just passed off as in..they fell in the river, it must have been an accident. So with that sort of mentality, even in the midst of a war in the 1860's, we get a first hand look in the movie how the investigations went. And in this movie, the people were devastated by the murder of President Lincoln... so they wanted to put all associated with plotting to kill the president to death.

Yet, James McAvoy's character(Fredrick Aiken) who was a solider and military hero is put on the spot to defend Mary Surratt played by Robin Wright, who did an amazing job and without makeup, at that. She was the woman who ran the boarding house where Booth and his friends met to plot their assassination. You might say she was the most hated woman in the nation. But did she really have anything to do with the President's murder?

It took an Englishman to play Booth's part.

Honestly, I would have loved to have seen more of Tobey Kebbell's John Wilkes Booth. He comes off more of a mumbler. Even when he says his famous line..there at the theater..I was like..what? I suppose those who must have witnessed the crime were thinking that too. Kebbell is a fine actor, I'm just not sure it was his finest role.

Johnny Simmons plays Johnny Surratt, the one who should have been hanged. But as the tale plays out, well, he timed it just right the end.

Norman Reedus as a true conspirator

I do like historical films. Much of this movie I did enjoy. Although, it was hard to buy Alexis Biedel as MacAvoy's love interest. Yet, she showed how a young lady was suppose to act of that era, I'm sure. Rachel Evan Wood as the youngest Surratt was a bit sappy too, yet I kept wandering off the storyline, thinking she should hook up with McAvoy's character or what if Booth did have time for a fan? Silly me.

But this was a true tale and bad things happened. So much control of our government at that time during this trial. It is a movie for history buffs and of course, James McAvoy fans too.

Jonathan Groff as Louis Weichman

STORYLINE: In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President, the Vice-President, and the Secretary of State. The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt, 42, owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous back-drop of post-Civil War Washington, newly-minted lawyer, Frederick Aiken, a 28-year-old Union war-hero, reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal. As the trial unfolds, Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait and hostage in order to capture the only conspirator to have escaped a massive manhunt, her own son.


Sick by Trend said...

I should watch this film! Thansk for the review


Cafe Fashionista said...

SO excited to see Alexis Bledel in something new!! :)

ellie said...

Johnny Simmons was so interesting with that soul patch of his. =)

Syed said...

Starring James McAvoy, directed by Robert Redford? Heck yeah I'm watching this!

Natalie said...

Anything with James McAvoy = I'm sold.

caitlin and megan said...

James looks great in this! I like Jonathan Groff too.