I'm a sucker for all things Civil War, so this film directed by Robert Redford was a natural choice for a Saturday night. Historical movies can sometimes be a slog when they try to portray real events, but "Conspirator" was entertaining and far more tense than I expected, especially the first half hour or so where Lincoln and his cabinet members are attacked, and then the assassins are chased down. The central conflict of the film revolves around a young lawyer and Union veteran who--against his better judgment--finds himself in the courtroom defending Mary Surratt, owner of the boarding house where the Confederate conspirators met. Youthful and idealistic, he does his job so well that he draws the animosity of powerful enemies in government. Other things to like included the Southern accents sported by the Marylanders, who no one quite believes aren't traitorous closet Confederates. My one complaint was that the interaction among the trio of young soldiers-turned-lawyers and their girlfriends felt more Melrose Place than Civil War. But ultimately this was an intriguing film that left me wondering if Mary Surratt got what she deserved or if she was wrongly sent to the gallows.
Recommended by David Healey