Having just returned victorious to Washington D.C. from the closing battles of the Civil War, Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy), a Union war hero and idealistic lawyer, is eager to make his name in politics. A bright-eyed nationalist, he is thrilled when he gets an audience with Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin Stanton (Kevin Kline), at a high society party. However, the meeting is cut short when a shot fired in Ford’s Theatre from the gun of John Wilkes Booth changes everything.
With the nation mobilized to hunt down those responsible for the assassination, the authorities find Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), mother of John Surratt, suspected of collaborating with Booth. A Confederate sympathizer and devoted mother, Mary refuses to reveal the location of her son. Whipped up into an emotional fury, the public calls for her blood. On the insistence of his mentor, former attorney general Reverdy Johnson (Tom Wilkinson), Aiken reluctantly takes up her case and defends this collaborator in front of a military tribunal. If she refuses to give up her son, her penalty will be death. Unwilling to allow her constitutional rights to be violated in the name of a verdict nearly every American demands, the young lawyer must take on the most difficult case of his life. Redford never dwells on recent parallels, but the story certainly resonates with events of the past decade. Wisely, The Conspirator leaves conclusions to each viewer. —TIFF
Born on August 18, 1936, in Santa Monica, California, to Charles Robert Redford, an accountant for Standard Oil, and Martha Hart. His mother died in 1955, the year after he graduated from high school. Charles Robert Redford Jr. was a scrappy kid who stole hubcaps in high school and lost his college baseball scholarship at the University of Colorado because of drunkenness. After studying at the Pratt Institute of Art and living the painter’s life in Europe, he studied acting in New York at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Lola Redford Van Wagenen (consumer activist), born in 1940, dropped out of college to marry Redford on September 12, 1958. They divorced in 1985 after having four children, one of whom died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Daughter Shauna Redford, born November 15, 1960, is a painter who married Eric Schlosser on October 5, 1985, in Provo, UT. Her first child, born in January 1991, made Redford a grandfather. Son James Redford AKA Jamie Redford, a screenwriter… read more
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The Conspirator opens on a battlefield, corpse-strewn yet oddly spotless, where a wounded soldier tells a joke to another to keep his mind
"When South Carolina artillerymen opened fire on a small band of federal troops garrisoned in Ft Sumter exactly 150 years ago," writes
A well made courtroom drama examining issues of fairness, rights, and constitutionality in the pursuit of political ends. This exploration of the trampling of rights and laying aside of the constitution… read review
All that stops that film from being great is already revealed in the name of the production company: The American Film Company, yeeha, go Rednecks. Why ? Because while this film claims to be all about… read review