The Conspirator 2011

The Conspirator

Critics Consensus

The Conspirator is well cast and tells a worthy story, but many viewers will lack the patience for Redford's deliberate, stagebound approach.

55%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 170

61%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,200

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Movie Info

Following the assassination of President Lincoln, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill Lincoln, the vice president and the secretary of state. Lawyer Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy) reluctantly agrees to defend the lone woman, Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), who owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others met to plan their crimes. Aiken realizes that Mary may be innocent and being used as bait to capture her son, a suspect who is still at large.

Cast & Crew

James McAvoy
Frederick Aiken
Robin Wright
Mary Surratt
Kevin Kline
Secretary Edwin M. Stanton
Danny Huston
Joseph Holt
Tom Wilkinson
Reverdy Johnson
Justin Long
Nicholas Baker
Colm Meaney
Gen. David Hunter
James Badge Dale
William Hamilton
Joe Ricketts
Executive Producer
Jeremiah Samuels
Executive Producer
Webster Stone
Executive Producer
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News & Interviews for The Conspirator

Critic Reviews for The Conspirator

All Critics (170) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (94) | Rotten (76)

  • Quote not available.

    November 17, 2011 | Rating: 2/5
  • This may be a talky court drama, competent rather than inspired, but the fact that it is based on truth lends its argument force.

    July 1, 2011 | Rating: 3/5
  • A very stately, bland piece of work, perhaps best shown to high school history classes.

    June 30, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Makes you pause and consider, not the fragility of justice and human rights in extreme circumstances, but the fusty and enfeebled condition to which Robert Redford's filmmaking has sunk.

    June 30, 2011 | Rating: 2/5
  • American studies A-level students will find all this useful, and Redford's son is less likely to ask the director, as he reportedly did during the filming of The Horse Whisperer: "Why are you doing this crap?"

    June 29, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Atmospheric, illuminating and affecting, The Conspirator captivates like an untold story -- one that you can't believe you've never heard until now, and won't soon forget.

    May 6, 2011 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Conspirator

  • Mar 14, 2016
    Destined for American high school level history classrooms, this concerns the rushed trial the assassins of Abraham Lincoln, and asks if some Constitutional guarantees were tossed aside in order to achieve quick vengeance, as well as the execution of the first woman in U.S. history. It's a Robert Redford film and so reeks of quiet grace despite the pace being that of a dying-friend-in-the-hospital visit. The work of all onscreen is exemplary, particularly Robin Wright.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 14, 2015
    The Conspirator is one of the best true story/historical films I've seen. Nothing needed to have been added or taken from this accurate accounting of events for dramatic purposes. Without exaggeration, this is a legal story like no other; this is much more fascinating than fiction. I thought I knew this story, but I really didn't know the facts at all-just the headlines involving Booth. Those involved in this project did masterful jobs. Robert Redford crafts a revealing look at the rush to judgement. This tale of scapegoat justice is just as applicable in our time as in 1865. McAvoy and Wilkinson are spectacular, and Robin Wright displays a stoic sort of grace I haven't seen before. I can't imagine another actress capturing this woman's essence any better.
    Clintus M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 04, 2014
    A controversial historical biopic, The Conspirator is an impassioned political drama from director Robert Redford. The film follows defense attorney Frederick Aiken as he attempts to defend Mary Surratt, who's charged as a conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, but he soon discovers that the trial is more about politics than truth. Redford takes a decidedly pro-Surratt position and is very condemning of the tribunal system that was used to try the assassination conspirators. Still, the plot addresses some fascinating issues and themes about war, justice, and law. The cast is also extraordinarily good, featuring James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Kevin Kline, Evan Rachel Wood, and Tom Wilkinson. The Conspirator takes a few liberties with history, but it's a well-crafted and compelling film that asks provocative questions.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 20, 2013
    The film portrays the aftermath of Lincolns murder; the trial of those who were caught in the act. However, the focus here is on the defense of Mary Surratt, the mother of one of the suspects who allegedly escapes the crime scene.successfully, The execution of the movie is quite conventional, but its roller-coaster story makes it watchable enough. Of course, it wont be all the same interesting for those of us who are well versed with history (or, for that matter, any subject as far as I'm concerned). The courtroom dramas are usually known for their fiery dialogues/sequences, but there's hardly any here. All these deficiencies, coupled with average performances, doesn't let the movie rise above mediocrity. All in all, its a passable fare. The conspiracy to kill the President followed by the conspiracy to send a seemingly innocent woman to gallows only goes on to prove how aptly the flick is titled. If only it were equally great in other departments too......... 4.5/10
    familiar s Super Reviewer

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