Conspiracy Theory/C+,A

Warner/1996/107/ANA 2.35

     After a promising start with Mel Gibson as a cab driver hyperventilating with conspiracy babble, Conspiracy Theory bogs down in a mire of mediocre and unconvincing screenwriting. It turns out Gibson, as hapless Jerry Fletcher,  is a refugee from a quasi-government project, a la Manchurian Candidate, that creates ice cold killers. He becomes emotionally involved with Justice Department attorney Alice Sutton, played in less than energetic style by Julia Roberts.
     When the camera focuses on the delusions of Jerry, mesmerizing fares in his cab, following carefully secure bizarre rituals in his quite unbelievable apartment, sparks fly. Once it becomes clear that Jerry is no delusional hack and the bad guys begin to close in, it's down hill, via wheelchair, helicopters or office complexes that disappear in the night.

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Mel under the lights©Warner

     Gibson is wildly manic as a man caught in a whirlpool of confusion, but what happen to the literate screenwriter that distilled L.A. Confidential so magnificently. Of course, we don't know what draft of the screenplay we are watching and whether or not it went downhill from the needs of big star, big studio demands. Richard Donner helms with competence and produced a slick flick that can't pass muster to a mental microscope.
     Conspiracy has been turned into a gorgeous anamorphic 2.35 DVD. Detail is stunning, backgrounds crisp and bright city lights are masterfully controlled. This disc has some of the best New York night work on display. And there's nothing like the Times Square and surrounding areas for great photographic material. The Dolby Digital 5:1 mix is directional and fully ambient. Conspiracy Theory is reference DVD material.






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