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Here's the synopsis for those who haven't seen it:
Booth travels to Confederate Spy Headquarters in
to propose a plot: abduct the President and offer him to the Confederate
in exchange for captured Confederate soldiers. His Confederate agents concur
that this action is a legitimate act of war, and agree to finance Booth=s scheme. Richmond
He truly believes
is a tyrant because he acted without the approval of Congress. To him, Lincoln Lincoln is the cause of all the South=s woes: usurper, violator of laws,
biding his time to be crowned king of . To capture him is an
honorable deed, and by doing so, he fulfills another wishBto be a hero.
In order to gain knowledge of
Lincoln=s comings and goings, Booth visits the = spiritualist, Nettie Colburn Maynard, ostensibly for a
séance. But what Nettie reveals while entranced unnerves him, especially when
an ancient coin drops, seemingly from nowhere, and lands on the table in front
of Booth. A spirit, speaking through Nettie, tells Booth in an inhuman growl that this coin is >dreadful payment for a dreadful deed.= Booth believes this >dreadful deed= is the capture of Lincolns ,
a deed he must commit in order to save the Confederacy. Dismissing the reading
as well-staged claptrap, Booth discounts the eerie surroundings and Nettie=s behavior as histrionics, drops the coin into his pocket,
and heads to his favorite saloon to recruit for his plot. Lincoln
After some unsettling events involving the mysterious coin, Booth takes it to a dealer, his old friend Norman Fine, who informs him that the face on the coin is that of Julius Caesar and offers Booth three hundred dollars for the relic. Booth hesitates a moment, then agrees to sell it, to finally get it out of his life.
Later, Booth reads in the evening paper that Fine was murdered in his locked store. Still reeling from the shock of that news, Booth glances at his nightstand to see the coin staring right up at him, blood-smeared and dripping. Before his eyes the coin soaks up the blood like a thirsty vampire and becomes brighter. Booth now realizes the bloodier things get, the newer and shinier the coin looks.
In the days that follow, Booth encounters more frequent disturbing experiences: possessions disappear, eerie noises in his hotel suite interrupt his sleep, shadowy figures appear and dissolve into vapor. His recounting of these experiences so frightens his fiancée, Lucy Hale, that she runs to her father, Senator John Hale, who demands she end the engagement. Senator Hale does not like Booth, and prefers to have him out of Lucy=s life. But Hale wants to be seen as a hero, so he hires a spy to follow Booth and report his activities. Hale is already aware that Booth is a Confederate agent and blockade runner, and is up to no good.
Hale solicits the services of the beautiful actress Alice Grey to spy on Booth.
intrigued at the opportunity to get close to the enchanting Booth, takes Hale
up on his offer. As a loyal Northerner, she feels she=s working for a good cause.
The owner of
H Street is Mary Surratt, a widow who rents out
rooms. One of her tenants is Sarah Slater, a Confederate dispatch carrier, and
another is Louis Weichmann, a Southern sympathizer with no particular loyalty
to anyone. Mary=s son, John, is a Confederate courier. Booth makes an
impromptu visit to Mrs. Surratt to introduce himself and to tell her about his
cause. He has already recruited her son John. Mrs. Surratt, a staunch Southern
patriot, is eager to help Booth. She is certainly no stranger to clandestine
activities, having once run the post office at her tavern in , which she used as a safe house for
Confederate soldiers. Maryland
Booth recruits two childhood friends, Thomas O=Laughlin and Sam Arnold, as well as three other men, David Herold, George Atzerodt, and Lewis Powell. Next, he calls upon a doctor friend in
Francis Tumblety, who has helped Booth smuggle medicines over the lines to Confederate hospitals. Tumblety, enamored
of Booth, drops everything to rush to New York .
He takes a room at Mrs. Surratt=s, and he and his landlady develop a close friendship. Washington
Booth=s inner need that drives him to commit his crimes comes out of what his first biographer described as a >morbid thirst for notoriety.= Others see his feelings of inadequacy in competition with his father and older brothers, all famous Shakespearian actors. As a child, he was described as >devoid of values= being spoiled by his parents and siblings, and growing up with virtually no discipline.
Not one, but as many as five attempts to capture
fail, thanks to
Alice, whom Senator Hale praises as an able spy after all. But Lincoln feels torn by her
role when she realizes she=s falling in love with Booth, despite their obvious
conflict of serving on opposite sides. Regardless of their differences, Booth
remains devoted to her. Alice
finally decides she can no longer spy on the man she loves. She pours her heart
out to Hale, who urges her to continue monitoring Booth=s activities on the premise that she would not want to see
Booth convicted and hanged if he=s caught. Alice
agrees to stop Booth rather than see him condemned. Alice
Booth is by now continuously haunted by terrifying events. The noises and visions drive him to the brink of exhaustion and insanity. He no longer sees Nettie Maynard to gain information about
; he actively seeks her help for
himself. He can=t get rid of the bloodthirsty coin; it turns up every time
he flings it into the street or throws it away. Booth implores Nettie to find
out whose spirit is haunting him. After every failed attempt to capture Lincoln , the spirit mocks
him, making Booth feel even more of a failure. Lincoln
Booth has a recurring dream in which he=s in another time and place where he witnesses the murder of a high official. In the third dream, it=s he who thrusts the dagger into the murder victim, whom he now realizes is Julius Caesar. But as he looks down on the bloodied corpse, the face becomes that of Abraham Lincoln. Booth begins to realize he was Brutus in a previous life, and Cassius is prodding him from beyond the grave to slay another tyrant, Lincoln.
Robert E. Lee surrenders his army at
, effectively ending the Civil War.
Devastated, Booth, knowing he must take drastic measures in a last ditch effort
to save the South, meets with his
cohorts at the Surratt house. Mrs. Surratt masterminds a plan to assassinate Appomattox when he attends a
play at Ford=s Theater on April 14. Driven to the edge of sanity by the
spirit who torments him, Booth agrees to the plot. He now knows the spirit is
Cassius, who urged Brutus to slay the tyrant Caesar and that his fate is
inescapable. He now sees that his entire plot has paralleled Shakespeare=s tragedy, Julius Caesar: a play he has acted in many
times. He knows the script by heart.
Devastated, she returns to the hotel to wait for Booth, hoping he=ll come back to her.
Booth flees into the wilds of
with his cohort, Davy Herold. Ten
days later, he=s surrounded by Federal soldiers in a tobacco barn. The
soldiers set the barn on fire in an attempt to smoke Booth and Herold out. Virginia
The flames do the trick, and Herold emerges from the barn, surrenders and is tied to a tree. One of the captors, Sergeant Boston Corbett, peers into the shed and sees two figures identical in looks to Booth. He shoots as both figures vanish into the engulfing flames.
That very night after
falls asleep, Booth comes to her in the night, makes love to her and leaves
before dawn. Alice
Despairing of ever seeing him again,
is shocked to read that Booth has been shot and his body is being brought back
for a traitor=s burial. Distraught and sick with grief, she is preparing
to disguise herself and make an appearance at Booth=s funeral when she discovers she is pregnant.
: A young ex-marine seeking to resolve his
personal conflicts visits a notorious Voodoo priestess. An ancient coin appears
from nowhere and falls on the table in front of a stunned Lee Harvey Oswald.
The wheels of fate turn again. New
John Wilkes Booth was fanatically devoted to causes important to him, such as his expert shooting, riding and fencing, being his mother's favorite son, his relentless pursuit of women, and the destruction of
and his regime.
Unafraid to die for the South, he believed what he did was right, to save his
homeland. Revenge was not on his agenda. He believed the foundation of the Lincoln Union was justice and equal rights as our Founding
Fathers planned it. The South had been wronged and preyed upon. He wanted to be
the one to right it.
Booth=s core issue being justice, he learns in the end that to receive justice, one must be just. Since Booth=s story parallels the play Julius Caesar, which raises questions about the force of fate versus free will, Booth also learns that he can=t escape his fate, and he=s destined to live and die the life that=s given him. Like Brutus, who slew a tyrant, but nobly accepted his fate, Booth in the end accepts his fate.
But when she hears of his plan to kill
she must sacrifice her happiness for the future of the nation. Her goal, like
Booth=s, is also justice. But until the last second, she feels
torn. She still waits for him to return to her, and never stops loving him. Lincoln