So, the Civil War is my most favorite subject in the world. I honestly can't make up my mind if my favorite thing to do is make films, review films, or study the Civil War. I studied it at an early age so I'm well versed believe me. I know a lot about Abraham Lincoln as well so I was thoroughly excited when I heard Robert Redford was doing a period piece. When I heard it was about Mary Surratt, I became more excited. Unfortunately, I did not get to see this film in theaters and had to wait till the DVD was released.
The film for the most part is VERY accurate and Redford does a great job in direction. The one thing that he excels at in this piece is giving the audience the impression that they're right their with the characters. It's hard to pull off for a film maker, but he mastered it with this as far as I'm concerned. Main plot for the most part is, Frederick Aiken (McAvoy) is a retired officer in the army. At war's end, Lincoln is assassinated and he's chosen to defend Mary Surratt (Wright). The film is as much a history piece to me as it is a current one. What if the rules we know of today were stripped? Surratt didn't have a jury of her peers to convict her, it was a military council. A right that's guaranteed in the United States Constitution.
One must think about the time period as well. The President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was just assassinated. They needed to bring anyone they possibly could to justice. After all, the public demanded it. The thing that makes this film stick out in my mind is the fact they don't take a side. Do they ever really tell you if she is guilty or not? It's a mystery to this day and the film takes no sides. Instead, they let the viewer make up their own mind. Was she one of the conspirators? My personal opinion is no.A very nicely done film
Great Film: B+
Enjoyable Film: B+