Director: Robert Redford
Stars: Robin?Wright, James McAvoy, Tom Wilkinson
Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival preaches the virtue of storytelling: find a topic, no matter how small, and make it come alive on the screen.
He seems to have forgotten this mantra while directing The Conspirator, his handsome but largely inert drama about American justice — or lack thereof — following the 1865 assassination of U.S. president Abraham Lincoln.
In focusing on Mary Surratt, the sole woman charged and tried in connection with the crime, the storyteller yields to the historian within Redford’s complicated cranium, and also to the lecturer that made his earlier antiwar polemic Lions for Lambs laughably didactic. He gives us history preserved in aspic.
But the film provides little sense of the human drama of the woman’s saga. Redford seeks clarity, but only for the mind, not the heart.