(These 2 short reviews as published in the Sept 2011 issue of The NSW Law Society Journal)

MICHELE ASPREY, Lawyer, writes…

Two excellent films opening at the end of July and the beginning of August are worth a special mention:

The Conspirator, 123 mins, rated M, opened in cinemas 28 July 2011, and
The Beaver, 91 mins, rated TBA, opened in cinemas 4 August 2011.

Directed by Robert Redford, The Conspirator tells the little-known tale of the seven men and one women who were arrested and charged with conspiracy to assassinate the US President – Abraham Lincoln. The trial of the lone woman (Robin Wright) takes place in the dying days of the Civil War, raising issues for her defence attorney (James McAvoy) that closely parallel issues faced today in the context of terrorism and Guantanamo Bay. Fascinating.

In The Beaver, Mel Gibson gives one of the best performances of his career as a successful executive of a toy-making business who suddenly finds himself in the depths of depression. In his desperation, he finds the only person who can drag him back from the brink is the Beaver – a mangy glove puppet! And that’s not the only shock in this moving and most unusual film, stylishly directed by Jodi Foster.