The trailer for Robert Redford‘s Civil War-era drama, “The Conspirator,” has arrived. The drama, set in 1865, centers on the lone female charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination trial of Abraham Lincoln. She is forced to rely on her reluctant lawyer to uncover the truth and save her life.
And for his eighth directorial effort Redford seemingly went for broke, pulling out all the stops and hiring an all-star, character-heavy cast that includes, James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Alexis Bledel, Danny Huston, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Johnny Simmons, Stephen Root and Toby Kebbell. Sounds amazing and after reading the script — an injustice, post 9/11 fear-mongering cautionary tale — this was riding high on our 2011 most anticipated list.
Then the film arrived at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and it was universally panned. In our 2011 Films We’ve Already Seen feature we wrote of the movie, “Redford just can’t help himself in making overbearing, not-entirely-there parallels with modern history. And when the film doesn’t go to the political pulpit, it plays like a stodgy, musty period version of ‘Law & Order‘ complete with sneering lawyer and shifty, obviously dishonest witnesses. Worse, Redford’s approach gives the film weird stylistic flourishes which would have made it a very awards-worthy drama if it was made maybe ten or fifteen years ago, but seem woefully out of place now.”
It was originally viewed as a 2010 Oscar-bait frontrunner, but those hopes were quickly dashed after its TIFF run. Nevertheless, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions picked up the film after its Toronto bow. The trailer itself? Well, it doesn’t read that much different from our aforementioned mini-review frankly. Still, like every film, this writer — and the rest of us who haven’t seen it — will surely still want to see for ourselves. The release date for the picture is April 15, 2011, and after TIFF it was said that Redford was going back to the editing room to retool the picture.