I don’t see many new movies in the theater. This year I was only planning on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy, and I ended up getting roped into (to my absolute pleasure) The Lego Movie. However, I do watch alot of Netflix.
Now normally, I stick to movies that either caught my attention the first time around or have been recommended to me. Occasionally, however, I find something that wasn’t on my radar before, and am pleasantly surprised.
The Conspiracy is one of the former.
The Conspiracy follows two filmmakers, Jim and Aaron, as they endeavour to make a documentary about someone who is deep down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole. They encounter Terrence, who’s apartment is exactly as we would expect, run down, walls covered with newspaper clippings linked with post-its and thumbtacks.
The first part of the film will seem very familiar to anyone who has ever seen a “truther” video on Youtube, sprinkled liberally with stock footage, news clips, and vagueries masquerading as “proof”. However, when Terrence disappears after very publically drawing a connection between World War I, Vietnam, The 9/11 attacks, and a secret organization who planned these events behind the scenes, Aaron and Jim pick up where he left off, Aaron having to convince Jim he’s found the missing link.
The film then follows Jim and Aaron as they investigate. As they dig deeper, they discover a single organization, the Tarsus Group, who seems to be pulling the strings. When they decide to infiltrate one of the regular meetings, is when the story takes a turn for the horrific.
Writer/Director Christopher MacBride, in his feature film debut, spins a well told story, building the tension to a head before bringing us to the climax. Shot from Aaron and Jim’s point of view, then returning to the documentary style for the end. He fills the spots of the documentary not with actors, but actual experts (such as Roger Beck, University of Toronto expert on the cult of Mithras) being interviewed on their area of expertise, effectively blurring the lines between what is real and what is fiction.
Portions of the climax seem like standard “found footage” fare, but when pieced together in the way that Macbride does, using the framework of a documentary it puts an an entirely fresh perspective on this tired director’s trick
All in all, a well above average from this first time filmmaker, and I look forward to seeing more from him in the future.
The Conspiracy is available on Netflix.