Director: Christopher MacBride
Writer: Christopher MacBride
Cinematographer: Ian Anderson
by Tory Maddox
As a found footage film, The Conspiracy starts out extremely strong. For those who find conspiracies fun and interesting in their creativity, this is a film for you. For all others who can't suspend your disbelief, just remember that the filmmakers - Aaron (Aaron Poole) and Jim (James Gilber) - would agree; they too find conspiracies ridiculous, but simply enjoy documenting them.
They begin interviewing ‘Terrence G’ (Alan Peterson) who stands upon a soapbox in central park discussing every conspiracy imaginable - The New World Order, 9/11 Truth, etc. - until one day he suddenly disappears, leaving everything he owns behind. Going through his materials which include newspaper cut outs hung up on a wall with strings linking them together and other random notes, (that is, your typical conspiracy theory wall collage), the filmmakers eventually come across the Tarsus Club - a secret non-governmental organization and ancient secret society, where all the heads of the world meet in order to discuss their next conspiratorial plan for world domination. They eventually get in touch with Time reporter Mark Tucker (Bruce Clayton) who says he can get them into a Tarsus Meeting.
And then the film takes a massive nosedive.
If only they were to stick to the conspiracies and the characters that promote them it could have been one of the finest found footage films yet. Instead the characters get deeper into their investigation and somehow - with unrealistic ease - end up at the annual meeting of this organization. The scene is very creepy, heavily inspired by Eyes Wide Shut, taking place a large and secluded mansion with a bunch of rich and important people. The issue is that it doesn’t deliver even an ounce of the tension you expect, or that the first two thirds provide. It was rushed and tropey and quickly pulled me out of the film. I would have loved to learn of another conspiracy that the Tarsus members were developing; to have had the filmmakers leave the party knowing that they couldn’t tell anyone or do anything about it and maybe then someone doing away with them. Instead the characters do what all boring characters in these films do when they get in front of the bad guys - they panic, they over act, and make it clear that they don’t belong, regardless of the fact that they’ve remained incredibly calm all the way up to this point. I understand that it was heightened situation and they knew one wrong move could cost them their lives. It’s all played way too much to the camera, though, with that stupid voice people do when they want us as the audience to know their full of shit, and somehow expect ridiculously smart millionaires and world leaders to never be the wiser. Eventually they get caught, it cuts to black, and we read ‘hundreds of hours of footage’ was found that the conspirators allegedly left for others to find, which conflicts with their entire found footage philosophy. That is, the very definition of found footage relies on someone having found it, so why would these group of conspirators allow any of it to leak out and be edited together? Wouldn’t they have been smart enough to cease the footage the filmmakers shot at the mansion, along with hunting down the rest of it? Thus, the very premise of this film was destroyed by demonstrating an illogical foundation and diving into a crash and burn conclusion.
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