Redford’s lessons in history
THE CONSPIRATOR ( 12A)
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.