HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Cryptozoo
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
   
 
Newest Articles
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
   
 
  Conspiracy Theory It's not paranoia if they're actually watching you
Year: 1997
Director: Richard Donner
Stars: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, Cylk Cozart, Steve Kahan, Terry Alexander, Pete Coch, Dean Winters, Sean Patrick Thomas, Joan Lunden, Rick Hoffman
Genre: Comedy, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: Jerry Fletcher (Mel Gibson), a nutty New York cab driver fond of regaling passengers with his crackpot conspiracy theories, is hopelessly in love with lawyer Alice Sutton (Julia Roberts). But while Alice remains the one person who does not think Jerry is a total loon, since he once saved her life, she does not take him seriously being too preoccupied investigating the death of her father, a prominent judge. When Jerry is abducted by a shadowy group of agents employed by the sinister Doctor Jonas (Patrick Stewart), a psychiatrist who claims to work for the C.I.A., he realises one of his outlandish ideas is actually real. Which one exactly, Jerry doesn’t know but after escaping Jonas and finding himself on the run from cops, FBI agents and covert assassins, he tries desperately to enlist Alice’s help.

Paranoia went mainstream in the Nineties as Hollywood repackaged our worst fears as glossy entertainment. Oliver Stone poured millions into his own personal, all-star conspiracy theory in the compelling, albeit widely debunked J.F.K. (1991), The X-Files took television by storm and briefly made UFO obsessives seem sexy while Tony Scott had moviegoers stop worrying about their civil liberties being invaded and just enjoy the bright flashy lights in his tepid Enemy of the State (1998). For the conspiracy-minded it was almost as if the film industry were lulling us into a passive state where we would simply accept widespread political corruption as a given. But that’s crazy, right? Along with Enemy of the State, Conspiracy Theory arrived late in the game but where Scott dressed up his recycled ideas with whiz-bang special effects, this fell back on old fashioned star-power, glossing up a quirky concept with the stellar presence of Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts.

At the root of the film rests the intriguing idea that people concoct grandiose conspiracy theories in order to connect with like-minded individuals and make sense of a far more disordered world. It remains an affecting notion, arguably more persuasive than the conspiratorial boogeymen fantasies concocted in the wake of such landmark paranoia-fests as The Parallax View (1974). After all, when one ponders the implications of a lone psychotic being able to murder someone as powerful as the American president, the idea of a shadowy cabal of international conspirators seems almost reassurring. Unfortunately, Conspiracy Theory loses track of this agreeably humane thread as it shuffles from screwball comedy to love story and identikit action thriller.

Scripted by Brian Helgeland - in the same year as his breakthrough with the similarly conspiracy minded, though far more stringent and skillful L.A. Confidential - the film lifts ideas from other more important paranoid thrillers in a seemingly post-modern attempt to do for its genre what Scream (1996) did for the slasher film. Witness Patrick Stewart riffing on Laurence Olivier’s role in Marathon Man (1976) or the self-conscious nod to The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Helgeland peppers the screenplay with references to dozens of real-life assassinations, conspiracies and urban myths but it is all a mishmash of inconsequential ideas serving only to distract viewers from what proves a dishearteningly pedestrian plot.

Wildly overlong and as undisciplined as the Lethal Weapon movies Richard Donner made with Gibson, sluggish pacing obscures the few good gags and effective suspense sequences. Parts of Helgeland’s screenplay are well-constructed, albeit overreliant on lengthy monologues that Donner unwisely retains as a means of feeding important information rather than doing so in exciting, cinematic ways. Considering how effectively Julia Roberts essayed a similar role in The Pelican Brief (1994) for the master of the paranoid thriller Alan J. Pakula, the film foolishly reduces her to merely a glamorous reactor to Mad Mel’s tirades. Gibson imbues someone who on paper must read like Travis Bickle with a disarmingly boyish charm. That might make him more palatable to the audience yet weirdly excuses his psychotic behaviour and serves to remind us that most of Mel’s heroes are crazy people. Coincidence?

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3105 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: