Courtroom drama fails to appeal
THE true events depicted in The Conspirator took place in the mid-1860s, in the aftermath of the assassination of US president Abraham Lincoln.
A strangely stilted and unengaging courtroom drama, The Conspirator focuses exclusively on the case of Mary Surratt ( played by Robin Wright), a middle-aged Washington woman arrested during the chaotic days after Lincoln’s tragic death.
Surratt ran a small boarding house often frequented by Lincoln’s killer, John Wilkes Booth. It was here, investigators believed, that the scheme to murder the president ( and other key members of his administration) was hatched.
The film, directed by Robert Redford, is notably evasive when it comes to answering the one important question regarding Surratt’s culpability.
Did she, or did she not know what was going on under her own roof during Booth’s many visits?
Instead, Redford busies himself unsubtly drawing parallels between Surratt and the suspected terrorists who peeved George Bush and his cronies less than a decade ago ( for instance, Surratt was denied civilian status and forced to front a military tribunal).
Viewers will get the point Redford is making very quickly. But unfortunately, that does not mean the director will refrain from making it over and over again.
The rest of The Conspirator is boilerplate stuff, not unlike an episode of Law & Order stuffed full of fancy period costumes and furry, fake whiskers.
Now showing State Cinema