[Moving picture of popcorn]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Conspiracy Theory

An action movie with two great stars and plenty of charm

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

August 9, 1997 -- "Conspiracy Theory" is a formula Hollywood thriller that works mainly because of two appealing stars with good chemistry, Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson, backed by a talented production crew.

Roberts plays Alice Sutton, a member of the justice department who is constantly being tailed by a genuine nut case, Jerry Fletcher (Gibson). After Fletcher rescues Sutton from a couple of thugs she feels she can't brush him off because she owes him a debt.

Fletcher has conspiracy theories, like the one about how the Vietnam War was the result of a bet between Aristotle Onasis and Howard Hughes. One day, one of his theories lands him in trouble. He is grabbed by federal agents (even paranoids have real enemies) and he is tortured by the mysterious Dr. Jones (Patrick Stewart) in the best tradition of Lawrence Olivier torturing Dustin Hoffman in "Marathon Man."

Fletcher manages to escape his captors and sets out to warn Sutton she is in danger too. At first, she doesn't believe him, but the evidence begins to mount that Fletcher is really onto something. The rest of the movie has the two escaping time and again from the clutches of Jones' henchmen.

Gibson and Roberts are marvelous together. Even though Gibson is known for his portrayals of crazy people, in this film he seems more mellow and vulnerable, a likable kook. Roberts is effective as a skeptic who is gradually won over to a conspiracy theory and Gibson's puppy-like charm.

It isn't a great movie. It is loaded with clichés, but it is also loaded with charm. The production values are top notch, orchestrated by veteran director Richard Donner and the musical score by Carter Burwell is exceptional. It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 1997 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
    [Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)