Historical Drama, 122 Minutes, 2009
Since we covered “Lincoln” [our review] recently this seemed like a reasonable follow-up. The movie covers the trial of Mary Surratt, the lone woman accused of conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.
Directed by Robert Redford [IMDB] this is emblematic of his films. Excellent characterizations, beautiful cinematography, soulful storytelling and about as a subtle as a brick to the face. You’re going to know exactly who to like and who to hate in the first few minutes.
Most of the film focuses on the political compromises to morality and ethics made in the course of the trail. To the vengeance-over-justice mentality that ruled the day. To Redford’s credit he seems to present the facts of the situation with little or no embellishment.
This is an interesting look at a little-understood and terribly embarrassing moment in American history. Like “Lincoln” this is a slow, deliberate film; perhaps even stilted at times. Redford’s presentation is direct and meaningful but lacks engaging extremes. It’s a story that deserves to be remembered even if the movie itself will likely be forgotten.