the conspiracy | christopher macbride | aaron poole | james gilbert | ian anderson | found footage | mockumentary | government | thriller | canada | peter apostolopoulos | roger beck | angela besharah | bruce clayton | laura de carteret | gavin fox | alex furber
Film: The Conspiracy
Director: Christopher MacBride
Writer: Christopher MacBride
Starring: Aaron Poole, James Gilbert and Ian Anderson
This was a movie that I’ve heard pop up on podcasts, but not often. Not surprisingly, it has been doing so more often which makes sense in the current climate of the world. It is interesting that I just heard it reviewed recently on Exploding Heads as well as Duncan covering it over on Where to Begin with Found Footage/Mockumentaries. That is the reason I finally watched it, but it was one that I did want to see from what I heard about the movie. The synopsis is a documentary about conspiracy theories takes a horrific turn after the filmmakers uncover an ancient and dangerous secret society.
As the synopsis states, we are following 2 documentary filmmakers. They are Aaron (Aaron Poole) and Jim (James Gilbert). The former is a bit lonely and actually wants to live off the grid. We get to see an interesting scene with him later on at a birthday party for Jim who is married with a young child. Aaron wants what his friend has and it is depressing to see on the outside looking in on this ‘perfect’ family.
The documentary kicks off with a quote from Benjamin Disareli about not knowing who actually governs us. It then is showing us the conspiracy theorist that starts it all by the name of Terrance (A.C. Peterson). He’s on the sidewalk with a bullhorn protesting the rich and powerful. He also is pushing that we have an illusion of freedom. We then learn that they wanted to do this documentary not on conspiracy theories, but the people who believe them.
To set the stage here, Aaron receives a clip about Terrance. What shocked him wasn’t the clip, but that all the comments seem to agree with him. They seek him out and that starts everything. Aaron gets sucked in though when Terrance goes missing. He starts to look for a pattern from the items that were left behind. When he does, it leads him to a group call The Tarsus Club.
This group seems to meet before major things happen and are elites from all over the world. There isn’t a lot of information out there about them, but it does lead our two filmmakers to Mark Tucker (Bruce Clayton) who once wrote an article about the group. The deeper they get into this, the more Aaron gets sucked in. Jim isn’t as thrilled and is scared for his family. Regardless, he does help his friend try to uncover the story here and it could change their lives forever.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap as I don’t want to go into more spoilers than that and it gets you up to speed. The first thing in favor of this movie is the sub-genre and the reason that I watched it. This movie starts and feels like a real documentary. It is also one that I could really get into as well. Personally, I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but much like the filmmakers, they fascinate me along with those that get sucked into them. The woman who at first I thought was a doctor does point out some really good things about how there is a correlation between this thinking to paranoid schizophrenia. The biggest thing I took from that, they create something that you cannot disprove which just reinforces their belief when you cannot.
I want to move from this idea to Aaron. What I find interesting is that he’s the one who is contacted about this. I love the subtle things the movie gives to us about his back-story. He’s a loner. He has Jim, but he has his family where Aaron really doesn’t. He has connected with people online to start an off the grid farm in northern Alberta. I love this idea for him because he isn’t that much different from Terrance who goes into this conspiracy theory virtual chat room. They seek out those that are like-minded. It is also fitting that he starts to see things and finds the pattern much like his older counterpart.
What I also want to give credit to this film would be with the writing and the editing. There are subtle lines that are dropped throughout this that come into play later. A big thing is with Mark during an interview. The two ask him why he could publish his article in Time and his explanation made so much sense. It also does with some reveals later in the movie. This is made even better by Easter Eggs in the credits. What I also like are different images and speeches edited in that could be referencing what is being said here. That helps to build even more on the realism of that this movie needs.
Where I think I should go next would be the acting. I don’t think anyone is great here, but they don’t have to be, they just have to be believable. I can buy that Poole is his character. I can feel his loneliness and the more that he gets sucked into this conspiracy theory, the worst it gets. It feels real to where things end up. Gilbert also does a good job at being this guy who is interested, but not to the same degree. I can feel his fear too. Aside from that, everyone else does a solid job with shout-outs to Clayton and Peterson in their important roles.
Then really the last things I want to go over would be the cinematography, effects and sound design. Having this filmed as a found-footage documentary is perfect. It feels like we are a part of it. Even more so that people’s faces are blurred out to protect the filmmakers and those being filmed without their permission. We don’t get a lot in the way of effects, but this is more about suspense so that works. Finally the sound design is good. We are getting mostly diagetic sound. That adds to the realism, especially at the climax. There is a horn there that unnerved me. There is music added in, but that works as we are seeing the edited, final product so I can buy it.
In conclusion here, I really like this movie. Seeing the world of conspiracy theories and how deeply people can get sucked into them is frightening all by itself. Where this movie takes it is even more. I think there is some genius writing here and edited to really help with that realism. The acting also helps along with the cinematography and sound design. This movie just resonates with me. I’m probably coming in higher than most, but this is a great movie in my opinion. It won’t be for everyone, but if you like some of things I’ve said, definitely see this.
My Rating: 9 out of 10