What movie was that...?

01 May 2011

The Conspirator

directed by Robert Redford

Low key. Competent. Good. These are all things that one would most likely remark about Robert Redford’s newest film, The Conspirator, and they would be right. The film is competently directed, and the film is good, but it isn’t great, which I sadly came to terms with prior to actually watching the film. You can see it coming a mile off in the trailer. James McAvoy is the green defense lawyer who, through his dealing with an alleged conspirator, learns that justice subverted is just as horrifying as the crime itself. As he learns to see his client as a person rather than a guilty party, he begins to find in himself a need to ensure that our legal system goes untarnished and see that his client gets a fair trial. It’s all there, the only change to this plot is the fact that it’s based on the true and slightly bizarre historical account of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, as well as the attempted assassination of the Vice President and the Secretary of State. Redford keeps the film grounded with solid directing, and the cast invests themselves wholly in their roles, but the film is no All the President’s Men or anything like that. The idea of our democratic system exploited to serve the “greater good,” to satisfy our collective zeal for cowboy justice is a concept that has seemed very pertinent these last few years, and Reford knows how to draws parallels that spark debate. The Conspirator is neither hot nor cold. Worth a watch, however.


  1. Good to see you think it is worth a watch! Most of the negative reviews I read are critics saying they dislike the pace, and I tend to enjoy Redford's slow pace when he is directing. Unlike many, I like Lions for Lambs. I suppose I just like his style, so this is probably a film for me. Great review!

  2. It's definitely a well made film, and it does move slowly. In all honesty, however, I knew that when I sat down in the auditorium that I wasn't going be seeing Bullitt or White Lightning. There are many films that I really enjoy that I cannot watch all the time. It's all a matter of being in the mood.


What do you think?