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Conspiracy Theory-WIll get your mind racing
Conspiracy Theory (DVD)
Member Name: jonnyfun06
Conspiracy Theory (DVD)
Advantages: Mel Gibson's performance
Disadvantages: The ending
You could conceivably say, that Mel Gibson's career is built on playing characters with a dubious grip on sanity. So when the part of Jerry Fletcher, a paranoid taxi driver who sees conspiracies everywhere came along, I don't think Mel had to do too much research. It's actually yet another collaboration between Lethal Weapon Star and Director, Mel Gibson and Richard Donner. Conspiracy Theory was perfectly timed for the X Files generation, an audience well versed in the ways of conspiracies and secret governments.
Jerry Fletcher is a New York cabbie, as I have already mentioned, one whose grasp on sanity is weaker than most. He is obsessed with conspiracies, and sees them everywhere. He publishes his thoughts in a newsletter and tries to convince Justice Department lawyer, Alice Sutton, that they are true.
He also nurses a rather unhealthy infatuation with Alice and can often be found outside her apartment behind a pair of binoculars. However Jerry touches a nerve with one of his outlandish theories and soon he is on the run from the mysterious Doctor Jonas and his men, with a reluctant Alice Sutton in tow.
The 2.35:1 anamorphic picture is clear although it is a little soft at times. As a recent film there is no sign of print damage or the like. The picture has a gritty dark look with a wet autumnal New York creating an oppressive atmosphere. The movie carries a strobe light warning if you are that way inclined, and it is used in a drug interrogation scene to good effect.
Conspiracy Theory comes with a DD 5.1 English soundtrack with subtitles in English and Arabic. The surround is put to good use, establishing the ambience of the film and again is effective during the interrogation. Mel's character mumbles to himself a fair bit and can be indistinct.
The music is good and sets a jaunty tone for the film, but has an ominous tinge when necessary.
Extras are minimal on this bare bones release from Warner Bros. You get some recommendations for other movies, basically text and images. There are some cast and crew filmographies, 10 lines of text on conspiracy theories, some more text on the production and a little text section on Creating Jerry Fletcher's world.
Conspiracy Theory is the perfect example of a good film let down by the final act. Mel Gibson has had considerable experience playing men on the edge, but here his performance as Jerry Fletcher is very good. Jerry appears to be your average guy, with some real psychological problems, and Mel explores his mental anguish and self-torture quite well. Rather than being the likeable psycho that we have come to expect, Jerry is shown to be genuinely obsessive, and even a little unsavoury in his stalking of Alice Sutton. He is also someone who is utterly controlled by his obsessions and clearly realises this, yet is unable to do anything about this.
Able support comes in the form of Julia Roberts who plays Alice Sutton, who is wary but tolerant of Jerry, and gradually learns to care for him. Patrick Stewart obviously relishes playing the evil Doctor Jonas and makes him a thoroughly unscrupulous villain. Cylk Cozart is entertaining as the long-suffering FBI Agent Lowry.
The cast is excellent and the characters are carefully and meticulously established. I found myself drawn into the story and the way that it builds the tension, twisting and turning for the first hour and half is quite engrossing. But then the last 40 minutes start and common sense is thrown out of the window.
It would have been good if the initial premise were carried through to the end of the film, that Jerry Fletcher was an ordinary guy with mental problems. But alas, Hollywood heroes can't be normal, so a ridiculous back-story is spun to account for Jerry's madness. A wholly implausible scene follows where Alice confronts Jerry over the murder of her father.
Finally the ending is another Hollywood cop-out. I won't repeat it here, but you get the feeling that the ending was changed to suit the typical Hollywood test audience. By now I felt the film should have ended 20 minutes ago, so terrible was the final act. To sum up, Conspiracy Theory starts well, builds up the tension and is entertaining and exciting, then the ending sucks.
Summary: A great movire to watch, well made, just live with the ending