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The Conspirator (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)


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Product Details

  • Actors: James McAvoy, Robin Wright
  • Directors: Robert Redford
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Roadside Attractions
  • DVD Release Date: August 16, 2011
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,312 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004LWZVZC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,359 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Conspirator (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

• Audio Commentary with Writer Director Robert Redford
• Feature-Length Documentary “The Conspirator: The Plot to Kill Lincoln”
• Introduction to the American Film Company
• The Making of The Conspirator
• 10 "Witness History" Featurettes on the Historical Background and Making of the Film
• Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 (Robin Wright), 42, owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth (Toby Kebbell), 26, and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous backdrop of post-Civil War Washington, newly-minted lawyer Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy), a 28-year-old Union war ero, 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. From director Robert Redford, The Conspirator is a riveting thriller that tells a powerful story about America then and now.

Amazon.com

If there's a theme running through Robert Redford's directorial career, it's the drive for social justice. When even one person receives unfair treatment, everyone suffers (like the family in his Oscar-winning Ordinary People). Even school kids are familiar with the fate of Abraham Lincoln, but the ensuing trial has received less attention--and perfectly illustrates Redford's concerns. After the assassination, John Wilkes Booth (Toby Kebbell) met his maker, leaving his coconspirators to answer for their attempts on the lives of the president, vice president, and secretary of state. Senator Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) charges Civil War general-turned-attorney Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy) with the defense of Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), who ran the boarding house in which the men, including her missing son (Johnny Simmons), used to meet. Though no evidence links Mary to their crimes, judge advocate Joseph Holt (Danny Huston) believes justice should trump fairness, stating, "At times of war, the law falls silent." Though Aiken assumes that his Southern client would welcome revenge against the Union, he aims to represent her fairly, even if that means appealing to a jury of Northerners and dealing with unreliable witnesses. A man of principle, he gives it his all, even convincing Mary's daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) to testify to facts her mother would prefer to keep private. The outcome would lead to legal reforms that are with us today, making for a film with contemporary relevance that remains, nonetheless, somewhat dramatically inert. As a plea for equal protection, however, it's quite affecting. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

That said, I really like the movie.
Leigh Ann Duncan
If you are an American history bufff, especially of the Civil War & the Lincoln assasination like I am, you will love this movie.
C. Morgan
It is a very good, well acted movie.
Angela Schultz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

306 of 324 people found the following review helpful By L. Power TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 26, 2011
Format: DVD
When I went to see this movie I knew nothing about it. The trailer merely indicated a period courtroom drama starring James McAvoy.

While I would hesitate to call it one of the best movies of the year, undoubtedly this movie or more precisely the story this movie relates impacted me more deeply than most do. So much so that I have bought several books on the subject to get as full an understanding of this event as possible.

As an experienced director and actor Robert Redford knows how to push the audiences buttons, making socially relevant, and relatable movies.

Here then a true story of a divided country just arrived at an uneasy peace after a bitter civil war, when recently reinaugurated President Lincoln is suddenly assassinated by an actor in a theater. Not only is the president assassinated, there is a simultaneous attempt to murder the Secretary of State Seward, and Vice President Johnson.

As the manhunt begins for Booth, and his accomplices, suspicions turn to a young known associate John Surratt. Police go to his house, and in his absence end up arresting his mother Mary Surratt for being complicit in the crime of which he is suspected. But is she guilty of being a conspirator, or just guilty of being a mother of an alleged one, an innocent running a boarding house where these conspirators would meet?

She is remanded to be tried in a military court. Frank Aiken, a young veteran of the Union Army, becomes her unwilling counsel. Her rights to a jury trial in a civilian court overruled, one can sense that the odds stacked against her. It's a desperate situation. Her guilt appears to be a foregone conlusion. She is not permitted to testify in her own defencse. Will her son return and save the day?
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91 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2011
Format: DVD
Many Americans are using the year 2011, the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, as an opportunity to reflect on the meanings of this seminal event in our history. "The Conspirator", a new movie directed by Robert Redford, examines the end of the Civil War rather than the beginning. The movie is set with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865 the conspiracy which planned it, and the ensuing military trials of the conspirators. The conspirators aimed to kill Vice-president Johnson and Secretary of State Seward in addition to the President and narrowly missed these goals. When John Wilkes Booth was killed, four conspirators were brought to trial including a woman, Mary Suratt, who kept a boarding house where the conspirators, among them her son, met to plan their activities. Mary Suratt's trial and the young lawyer who defended her, a Union officer in the War named Aiken, are the focus of this movie.

Mary Suratt was not an appealing defendant in any circumstances, let alone under the fear which gripped Washington after the assassination. She was an avowed Confederate sympathizer and did little to help her pleas of innocence. She argued essentially that keeping a boarding house is no crime and that she was unaware of what her boarders may have been doing behind closed doors in their rooms.

Young Aiken took the case at the behest of venerable United States Senator from Maryland, Reverdy Johnson. In the movie, Aiken at first shows substantial reluctance to become involved as he believes the evidence points strongly to Mary Suratt's guilt. Most historians who have since studied the matter share Aiken's initial reaction that Mary Suratt was guilty of conspiracy as charged.
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92 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 16, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film's target audience is leagues beyond just the Civil War fan. "The Conspirator" draws the viewer into a period of time and forces a decision between emotions likely felt by North & South Americans of the era. Robert Redford (director/producer) takes a side-note of Lincoln and Civil War history and catapults it into a very believable, re-living, docu-drama-like, story that will touch you at a human and political level. Some viewers will despise the end, others cheer, but oddly, both sides will consider it justice. But was it?

Looking at historical accounts, one can find the story buried in the lesser known details of the War's end and a Presidential assassination. Mary Surratt (Robin Wright-`Forrest Gump') is arrested with other men and accused of a murder conspiracy. A planned attack on 3 political leaders. One, Lincoln, would die, and one woman, Mary, would be pushed toward justice at a vengeance speed. No trial by peers, but a tribunal justice, with the deck stacked hugely against innocence. Even her lawyer, Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy-`Atonement' `Narnia') ex-Union fighter was chosen to hasten a guilty verdict and quick hanging. He is reluctant to defend and believes her guilty. The attorney role causes romantic troubles for Aiken, but that is a minor bit of the story. The relationship between Aiken and his client, as well as political/military figures including commission head Gen. Hunter (Colm Meeney) and War Secretary Stanton (Kevin Kline) is the basis for the masterfully written story.

This should win awards, perhaps not as individual acting moments, but overall, and on the top of the deserving list is screenplay writer James Solomon. The writing IS the story. A documentary written in dramatic dialogue. The director has brought the written masterpiece alive.
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The Conspirator (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
This item: The Conspirator (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
Price: $14.98 $9.97
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com