May 22, 2015


Movies

Found-footage feature fuses fiction and facts

The Conspiracy walks like a doc and talks like a doc, but don't be fooled; it's actually a clever piece of fiction. At least, given the subject matter, I hope that's all it is.

The film follows two documentary filmmakers, played by Aaron Poole and James Gilbert, as they embark on an exploration of conspiracy theories and the, er, freethinkers who propagate them. Chief among these is Terrance (Alan C. Peterson), whose stereotypically low-rent digs include a wall covered with newspaper clippings, annotated with sticky notes and arrows.

EONE ENTERTAINMENT
Alan Peterson in The Conspiracy.

EONE ENTERTAINMENT Alan Peterson in The Conspiracy.

"It's easy to turn you into me, but you don't want to be me," Terrence tells his interlocutors. Indeed they don't; midway through their interview sessions, the man's apartment is ransacked, and he disappears without a trace. Aaron decides to reconstruct what he can from the debris, and he soon falls under the spell of paranoia, pattern recognition and coincidence that is the beating heart of every conspiracy theorist.

James, who has a wife and a child to worry about, is less keen about disappearing down this rabbit hole, but he gamely follows along in the name of journalistic integrity. Their investigations eventually lead to the Tarsus Club, a meeting place for international movers and shakers with a three-word mission statement: New World Order.

It's here the movie, by first-time feature writer and director Christopher MacBride, starts to burst at its low-budget seams. Up to this point it's managed to get by on copious use of stock footage -- including, disturbingly, images of the Kennedy assassination and the 9/11 attacks.

But when Aaron and James manage to infiltrate a Tarsus Club meeting, they kit themselves out with tiny tie-clip cameras, resulting in a lot of dark and muddy footage. On the one hand, it mirrors their emotional state, but these are not the most watchable images, especially after the polished-doc look of the film's opening minutes.

Still, MacBride knows how to blur the lines between fiction and fact, stocking (and stoking) his film with interviews of actual believers as well as bona fide experts. Yes, there is a real Roger Beck, a University of Toronto authority on the ancient cult of Mithras, whose story of death and resurrection predates the Jesus narrative by some 2,000 years.

But good luck Googling the Tarsus Club. You'll find a Wikipedia entry, with a link to an unadorned but official-looking web page. But why would such a secret society have an Internet presence at all? "A total media blackout is a void just asking to be filled by fertile imaginations," says one of the characters in The Conspiracy. That's true regardless of whether or not anyone is hiding anything.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 2, 2013 D5

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 22 8:34 pm

Pork prices still soaring wfp.to/RT8

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 22 8:02 pm

Bodybuilders beware: supplements a 'Wild West' wfp.to/RTv

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 22 7:12 pm

Blue Bombers beef up D-line, add Kheeston Randall wfp.to/RTL

Ed Tait | @WFPEdTait

May 22 6:58 pm

#Bombers add import DL Kheeston Randall (6-5, 310 Texas). Drafted in 7th rd in 2012 by Miami. Appeared in 12G. Had stints w Minn/Cinn

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 22 5:02 pm

Republicans' "big-wig" hypocrisy wfp.to/RTV

Scroll down to load more

Top