The historical film is based the military tribunal which tried a several people for the conspiracy
to assassinate Pres. Lincoln and others. In telling the story, it provokes the viewer to think about themes that permeate US history: A defendant associated with a hugely unpopular cause and who is presumed guilty by the court and by a hysterical populace thirsty for action and revenge; the attorney doesn't want the case but agrees to take it, becomes frustrated with the lack of due process, and in defending an unpopular client suffers guilt-by-association with the defendant's cause; various witnesses try to save their own skin by incriminating others and hiding their own involvement. I was struck by how this drama has played again and again in our history, from Salem to Sacco-Venzetti to Japanese interment, to Guantanamo, and many more; McAvoy and Wright are great in the leads, Redford get the best out of all the actors, and the art direction transports you to Civil-War America
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