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Mixed or average reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

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6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 41 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Conspirator" is a period drama based on true events following the assassination of President Lincoln. Mary Surratt is the only woman among a group charged with conspiring to kill the president. Frederick Aiken is an idealistic young war hero who reluctantly defends Surratt and in the process comes to believe she is innocent. (Roadside Attractions)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 37
  2. Negative: 3 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Apr 12, 2011
    100
    No matter where your political leanings lie, the great thing about The Conspirator is that Mr. Redford is wise enough to let the audience decide what the parallels are. See it, enjoy a ripping good yarn and learn something.
  2. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Apr 14, 2011
    75
    This provocative account of a war-weary administration that denied Surratt her right to a fair trial starts slow but builds momentum in the scenes with Wright and Evan Rachel Wood as Surratt's flinty daughter, Anna.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Apr 16, 2011
    75
    Redford considers this material in an unusually literate and thoughtful historical film, working from years of research by his screenwriter, James Solomon. I found it absorbing and relevant today.
  4. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Apr 14, 2011
    60
    Like his 2007 political drama, "Lions for Lambs," Robert Redford's fictionalized chronicle of Mary Surratt's 1865 trial is high-minded and slow-moving. Some may chafe at his unsubtle sermonizing, but strong central performances will reward the patient.
  5. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Apr 29, 2011
    50
    Redford hasn't moved too far here from an earlier political-thriller template: With its skulduggery, late-night meetings and the contemptuous political cabal out to thwart justice, The Conspirator can be thought of as "All the President's Men – The Lincoln Edition."
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Apr 15, 2011
    50
    Instead of entertaining us, director Robert Redford offers us a handsome history lesson that's as dry as a hardtack biscuit.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 14, 2011
    20
    Like most other members of an excellent cast that includes James McAvoy, Kevin Kline and Tom Wilkinson, she (Robin Wright) has come under the deadening directorial hand of Robert Redford.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Apr 21, 2011
    10
    This was one of the few movies I was looking forward to in 2011, and it delivered. Great story, great acting, and top notch directing make this one of the few 'good' movies of 2011. I highly recommend it! Expand
  2. Apr 19, 2011
    9
    Excellent movie! Redford does a good job of presenting the story in a way that captures your interest and uses the Civil War time frame to convey the clear message that when military tribunals are used to trample on basic constitutional rights everyone loses. Robin Wright and James McEvoy did an excellent job. I found the movie thoroughly engrossing and powerful. Expand
  3. Aug 16, 2011
    8
    This is a quiet film. It doesn't scream. It doesn't base itself on hystrionics. Visually it's as subdued as the script. Redford actually suceeds in underscoring the injustice and the way in which our legal system treats those the constitution is supposed to protect. I don't think this will ever be regarded as a great film but I do think that in the future it will be regarded as one of those rare moments when one has an experience. There is no way anyone can watch what is revealed and not be surprised by the turn events and the injustice. MacAvoy gives one of the his best performances. Robin Wright is restrained. Kline also turns in a excellent turn. Wilkinson seems to be lost in the shuffle which is rare for him or perhaps it's just that he isn't given much to do. There are lot of thankless roles in this film but it doesn't seem that Redford was as interested in creating memorable characters as he was in creating a memorable case of injustice. The direction is on point. The script seems at times to understate the motivations and the situation. The critics murdered this film and I suspect the public stayed away because of that and because perhaps everyone still wishes to believe that Mary Surratt probably would have pulled the trigger herself if she'd been in Booth's Theater that night. A shame there isn't more to work with in creating this piece. Expand
  4. Jun 8, 2011
    7
    It tells the story Mary Surratt very well with dazzling imagery and great dialog. To bad that the story itself at times isn't all the interesting. The film is the best that it could possibly be. Expand
  5. Nov 6, 2011
    6
    A lot of care went into to making this film. The setting, costuming, and actors all seem to be giving it their all, but the script could use a lot of work. Drama there is in abundance, but there could have been so much more. This is a rental at best, or just wait for it on tv. Expand
  6. Feb 28, 2012
    5
    My rating is actually a C+, almost worth seeing. If not that it was based on actual events and Mr. Redford tried to stay true to what happens to the characters it would have been below average. Most of the big names have small parts and don't have enough to spread their wings. The film is left to Ms. Wright and Mr. McAvoy. He is dull, boring, and never won me over so I could root for him. One may say that the only character to get behind is Mary (Ms. Wright) but she plays the role so blandly, never letting me know what she knew. Without that, I have to guess (what some critics think is positive) and my conclusion is she should have known what was going on and if she did , did not want to step in. She doesn't come across as afraid so why? Certainly her treatment in the American justice system was deplorable, perhaps overly melodramatic, but things did change after her trial. Perhaps for history buffs, but falls short on it's own. Expand
  7. Dec 29, 2011
    2
    It had it's moments but the movie just failed to capture what should have been an emotional powerhouse. I didnt feel any emotion at all during this film besides the humerous fact that there were some terrible mis-casts for this film. Justin Long (a terrible cast who plays his part poorly), Alexis Bledel (who is as interesting as watching walls), and Evan Rachel Wood (a serious over-acting actress that sucks hard through out). James McAvoy however plays his part perfectly but he alone cant make up for the trash around him.

    Also lets face it, The film was boring. It was insanely predictable that the woman was gonna be a sacrificial lamb from the begining, It spoiled the journey of getting to that point. I generally like films like this (which is why I rented it) but this is one film that I would suggest avoiding. I did not like it at all.
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See all 17 User Reviews

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