Some Thoughts on ‘The Conspirator’ Movie

Mary Surratt (photo from

My wife and I saw ‘The Conspirator’ last night at the movies.  I liked the movie. I intentionally didn’t tell her much about the real story of Mrs. Surratt-wanting to hear from her what she thought about the movie overall (she being casual about the Civil War). At it’s end she commented that Mary Surratt seemed “rather innocent” and that the North “had it out” for her. I wasn’t surprised by her remarks. To anyone  not familar with the history of the events portrayed in the movie-it seemed to convey that message. That’s really my objection to the movie. Robert Redford chose to frame the story to largely say that the government (and Secretary of War Stanton were bad, that the Military Tribunal was unfair/biased, and that Mrs. Surratt was innocent. Of course, there have been those who held those beliefs since the time it all happened. I have read that Mr. Redford was very mindful of our modern post 9/11 world in making the film. To me, this is the reflection he gives us in the film. I don’t have any problem with that really. Any film that causes us to think about our practices and laws in America is certainly worth consideration. I am a student of the Civil War era and the Lincoln assassination period, in particular. The viewpoint depicted in the film is not new-I can accept it exists. My concern is always with those who, perhaps, know nothing-or very little about the story. They will walk away with ideas-not knowing there are others who don’t interpret the events in the same way. Oh well. It’s up to every person to do their homework!
I also want to say that as far as the “look” of the film-I enjoyed it very much.  Seeing Washington for what it must have looked like back then was a real treat-lots of undeveloped land and open space. The houses, the furniture, the period costumes-were all amazing. The soldiers looked authentic-not like reenactors that are obvious in some “period” movies. Mr. Redford moves the film quickly to get to the trial stuff. This is understandable since that is the focus of the movie. Of course, many things had to be left out. The film was two hours long and couldn’t be bogged down by all the many twists and turns that were in the historical record. There were some errors in the film-that’s to be expected. In the end, I’m afraid that the general public may find the movie boring. It slows down. For those who who have seen the film please feel free to offer your comments!   
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One Response to “Some Thoughts on ‘The Conspirator’ Movie”

  1. Kelly says:

    The movie was an eye opener for me.
    My American History Book never mentioned
    other goverment officals were also attacked.
    To me that is an important detail that was
    left out. As students so much of HIS STORY
    and HER STORY is either made up or dropped
    out and all countries do it. See the movie!!!

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