Rated PG-13, 123 minutes
The new Robert Redford film "The Conspirator" tells the story of Mary Surratt, who was convicted of helping murder President Abraham Lincoln and became the first woman executed by the federal government. With an A-list cast, a worthy story and a few compelling moments, Redford's overlong, idealistic film is an intriguing look though it fails to capture a huge emotional connection. Unsurprisingly, Redford and company change some key historical details for cinematic glory. Robin Wright is Surratt, James McAvoy is her attorney Frederick Aiken and Kevin Kline is Secretary of War Edward Stanton. If you're familiar with history, you already know what happens, but Redford wants you to believe that Surratt was harshly convicted so the U.S. Government could heal an ailing country from the Civil War and Lincoln's untimely death. Some of that might be true, though we may never really know what truly happened, ala Oliver Stone's "JFK," though the mildly entertaining "The Conspirator" isn't as ridiculous as that film's theories. A few enjoyable scenes and good performances from Wright and McAvoy highlight the film, though an overlong, uneven tone, particularly in the final act, somewhat dampers the film. Worth a look maybe for history buffs, otherwise wait to rent it.
Wes’s Grade: C+
Worth Seeing: Possibly, for history buffs.