Since making his Oscar-winning directorial debut in 1980 with 'Ordinary People,' Robert Redford has made films that exude increasingly glossy respectability. Admittedly, 'A River Runs Through It' is a gorgeous movie and 'Quiz Show' certainly has some amazing moments, but as a filmmaker Redford's choices haven't aggressively (much less memorably) gone against expectations; he's even recruited (or molded) multiple leading men (Brad Pitt, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Damon) to embody his sun-dappled, all-American image in stories for which he would have been perfectly-suited in decades past.

But while he thankfully hasn't entirely succumbed to "old-man movies" while attempting to craft thoughtful, pretty, adult-oriented entertainment, he continues to lose (or fails to communicate) the passion he feels for the material itself. And 'The Conspirator,' his latest, is a disappointingly lifeless political parable - filtered through real details of American history, no less - that highlights ignored injustices with an incisive eye, but fails to inspire enough outrage to make the audience care about their rediscovery.