The 2011 drama “The Conspirator” from Roadside Attractions was directed by Robert Redford with the screenplay written by James D. Solomon based on a story by Gregory Bernstein. Starring: James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Toby Kebbell, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin Kline, Alexis Bledel and Stephen Root.
In a story that delves into the events that took place after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, one woman is charged as a conspirator to the crime. Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), who owned the boarding house where John Wilkes Booth met with the men who planned to murder not only the President, but the Vice President and Secretary of State as well to completely topple the government. The fact that these simultaneous attacks were planned to be carried out by citizens of the United States was met by shock and disbelief, which quickly turned into a call for justice.
The logic behind charging Surratt with conspiracy was sound, obviously if the men who carried out the crime held meetings on her premises she had to know what was going on. But nothing could be further from the truth in Surratt’s mind, for her only interest was in protecting her family and without a competent lawyer to prove her innocence, her fate was sealed as the country stood against her believing that she indeed participated in the crime.
With memories of the Civil War still fresh in the minds of Americans, the government in Washington now faced the unprecedented reality that the President had been killed and justice must be served. Deciding how this would be done was a burden that no one in Washington wanted to bear. Finally the decision was made to assemble a military tribunal to judge the case. To carry out the law of the land, the brand new 28 year old lawyer Frederick Allen (James McAvoy) and union war-hero was assigned the task of defending Surratt.
Aiken is reluctant to become involved the controversial case although he believes that Surratt is being charged for the sole purpose of flushing out her son John. All those involved believe that he is one of the conspirators who escaped the manhunt that was launched after President Lincoln was killed, but was he indeed on the run because he was guilty or just afraid? In order to discover the truth of the events that led to that fateful night, Surratt must depend on Aiken’s faith in her innocence to save her life.