Red­ford’s lessons in his­tory


Evening Express (City Final) - The Guide - - BIG SCREEN - Da­mon Smith

James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Tom Wilkin­son, Danny Hus­ton, Evan Rachel Wood, Alexis Bledel, Justin Long, Colm Meaney.

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth as­sas­si­nated the 16th Pres­i­dent of the United States, Abra­ham Lin­coln, as part of a far­reach­ing con­spir­acy. The mur­der shocked the war-torn nation just as the Con­fed­er­acy was pre­par­ing to sur­ren­der to the Union. Di­rec­tor Robert Red­ford chron­i­cles the af­ter­math of the shoot­ing in this his­tor­i­cal court­room drama, told from the per­spec­tive of the one woman ar­rested and charged in con­nec­tion with the as­sas­si­na­tion. The vet­eran film­maker cap­tures the era with aplomb, de-sat­u­rat­ing the screen of colour. His his­tory les­son cer­tainly looks the part – pity the de­liv­ery is so dry. McAvoy puts fire into his de­fender’s belly and Wright cur­ries sym­pa­thy for her mother, who is will­ing to sac­ri­fice her­self for her child. Strong sup­port­ing turns from Hus­ton, Wilkin­son and Kline stoke the flames but Red­ford’s film never quite catches fire. FAM­ILY WATCH: Swearing, No Sex, Vi­o­lence.

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