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Movie Review – The Conspirator

Like Mike
Like Mike

As a rule, I go into press screenings not knowing a whole bunch about the film, but as I was taking a friend along to this one I decided to look a little bit more into the film than I would normally do. She had asked what it was about, so I looked online during a bit of other research and saw it was based around the Lincoln assassination after the US Civil War. Normally, I go along to these screenings keen to see anything, as long as it’s a well told and made film, but when I take people along sometimes they can get a little bummed at what the film ends up being if it doesn’t live up to what they would normally see at the cinema. Despite this, I told her what it was going to be about and she still seemed keen, which meant one thing, I now had to only worry about myself. I had stayed up until 2am the night before watching the F1 race in Turkey and had a feeling I might find it hard to sit through the two hour long film without nodding off.

“In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President, the Vice-President, and the Secretary of State. The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt, 42, owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous back-drop of post-Civil War Washington, newly-minted lawyer, Frederick Aiken, a 28-year-old Union war-hero, reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal. As the trial unfolds, Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait and hostage in order to capture the only conspirator to have escaped a massive manhunt, her own son.”

As historical films go, I did enjoy the story as it’s always nice when you can go along to a movie and learn something new. But, was I in the mood for a two hour historical court room drama? Not so much. So, is my review a fair account of the film’s quality, or more based around my late night, mixed with a mood that may have been better served with a comedy? Sure, it could be skewed, but I honestly feel that this film just didn’t get it right. It told a story about an interesting time period and subject, and deeper down I think it had a good message about current modern day situations in places such as Guantanamo Bay, but overall I was pretty bored by the whole thing. Mix in some bad and questionable casting and you have a film that will struggle to find an audience, even in its older audience demographic. My friend wasn’t so keen on it either, but I promised her the next time I take her to a press screening it will be a more upbeat and less boring film, I hope! Oh … and I did manage not to fall asleep – barely!

6 out of 10 from me.

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