The Conspirator (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Conspirator2011

The Conspirator (2011)



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

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Movie Info

In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State. The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt (Wright) owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth (Toby Kebbell) and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous back-drop of post-Civil War Washington, newly-minted lawyer, Frederick Aiken (McAvoy), a 28-year-old Union war-hero, reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal. 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, John (Johnny Simmons). As the nation turns against her, Surratt is forced to rely on Aiken to uncover the truth and save her life. -- (C) Official Site

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James McAvoy
as Frederick Aiken
Tom Wilkinson
as Reverdy Johnson
Evan Rachel Wood
as Anna Surratt
Kevin Kline
as Edwin Stanton
Justin Long
as Nicholas Baker
Danny Huston
as Joseph Holt
Robin Wright
as Mary Surratt
Colm Meaney
as Gen. David Hunter
James Badge Dale
as William Hamilton
Johnny Simmons
as John Surratt
Toby Kebbell
as John Wilkes Booth
Jonathan Groff
as Louis Weichman
Stephen Root
as John Lloyd
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Critic Reviews for The Conspirator

All Critics (169) | Top Critics (48)

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…

Once the ideological cat is out of the bag, the drama is degraded to the level of a historical pageant.

April 29, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Conspirator

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. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


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 Maximus
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer


review coming

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

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