The Conspirator traces the true story of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. In the wake of the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865, a country mourns its leader, and eight people are charged with conspiring to kill the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State. The lone woman accused, Mary Surratt (Wright), owns the boarding house where the attack was planned. Faced with a certain death, Surratt's only hope comes in the form of a newly minted lawyer and Union war hero, Frederick Aiken (McAvoy), who reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal. As the courtroom trial unfolds, Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait in order to capture the only conspirator to have escaped a massive manhunt, her son (Johnny Simmons). (Gary Reber)
Special features include Bonus View commentary with Director Robert Redford, the Documentary The Conspirator: The Plot To Kill Lincoln (HD 66:03), a making-of featurette (HD 10:04), 10 Witness History featurettes (HD 41:03), The American Film Company promo (HD 0:51), the theatrical trailer, TV spots, and up-front previews.
The 2.40:1 1080p VC-1 picture exhibits a beautiful warm visual quality that presents a convincing historical feel. The color palette is warmly hued with rich tones and faithfully accurate fleshtones. Contrast is excellent, with deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Resolution is stylishly soft in focus to enhance the sense of the 1865 period. While soft, reasonable detail is evident, particularly in close-ups of hair, facial features, clothing, and object textures. Newton Thomas Sigel's cinematography delivers a wonderful visual experience that perfectly supports the realistic storytelling. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audioô 5.1-channel soundtrack is nicely executed with a naturally integrated dialogue track that is spatially engaging. Mark Isham's orchestral musical score is beautifully recorded, with a wide and deep soundstage presence and subtle surround envelopment. Atmospheric sound effects perfectly enhance each period scene. Bass response is solid and provides a good foundation to the sonics, but there is very limited .1 LFE engagement. Overall, this is a wonderful soundtrack that works well in the telling of this fascinating story. (Gary Reber)