Film review: ‘The Conspirator’
Wed, Apr 13, 2011 (7 p.m.)
Maybe Robert Redford should be spending his twilight years as a history or political science professor instead of a filmmaker—that would be preferable to asking audiences to sit through his last two movies. While The Conspirator isn’t as condescending or didactic as 2007’s Lions for Lambs, it’s nearly as boring, offering a school-play-level take on the trial of Mary Surratt (Robin Wright Penn), who was accused of being part of the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. Surratt’s story is an interesting semi-forgotten piece of history, but Redford stages it in the blandest way possible, with history-textbook dialogue spouted by a cast of talented but wasted actors. Redford seems earnest in his desire to educate audiences about history (as well as about the trial’s parallels with current events), but along the way he’s forgotten to make an entertaining or engaging movie.