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Conspiracy Theory (1997)


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 22
Rotten: 20

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 14
Fresh: 6
Rotten: 8

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 158,199



Movie Info

Jerry Fletcher (Mel Gibson) is a New York City cab driver who seems to have absorbed every bit of crackpot information passed along as "suppressed news" that's surfaced on talk radio or the Internet in the past 20 years. Anti-United Nations militia men who are actually U.N. operatives? NASA scientists engineering earthquakes? Oliver Stone's secret life as a government agent discrediting conspiracy theorists? Jerry's heard 'em all and believes most of them, and even publishes his own journal of … More

R (for some violence)
Drama , Action & Adventure , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
Brian Helgeland
In Theaters:
Dec 30, 1997
Warner Home Video


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Critic Reviews for Conspiracy Theory

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (20) | DVD (4)

Donner directs with an efficient hand. He keeps the action moving briskly. But most important for this format, he knows how to slip in a quick joke or two without detracting from the tension of the suspenseful plot.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

The film starts to sour after 20 minutes...

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

...more long-winded than cunningly elaborate, more simplistic than elegantly simple, and more nonsensical than anything else.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

...the strong impact that Gibson makes as damaged goods is diluted by selling Jerry as cute and redeemable.

May 11, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

In the hands of stars in denial about their stardom and a director who can't be bothered to take things seriously, it has come out implausible and unsatisfying, a comic thriller that is not especially funny or thrilling.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Unfortunately, the parts of the movie that are truly good are buried beneath the deadening layers of thriller cliches and an unconvincing love story.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

...a marginally engrossing thriller that ultimately comes off as something of a disappointment...

Full Review… | October 23, 2009
Reel Film Reviews

Two-thirds of a fine comedy of paranoia.

Full Review… | July 30, 2007

About a truth seeker who has a difficult time figuring out who to trust in a world where everyone seems to be playing multiple roles.

Full Review… | August 29, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

If you've ever questioned Gibson's appeal, this serio-comic thriller offers 135 minutes of persuasive evidence as to why he's become one of the world's most reliable box-office draws.

Full Review… | June 23, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

...even at two hours and 15 minutes, Conspiracy Theory is fast-paced and exciting, effectively mixing drama, comedy, ingenuity, suspense, revelation and a heartening sense of a triumph of humanity.

Full Review… | June 5, 2002
Boxoffice Magazine

Parece que se tornou uma especialidade de Hollywood transformar idéias boas, criativas, em filmes de perseguição constante.

Full Review… | May 31, 2002
Cinema em Cena

I guess a Julia Roberts fetish can't overcome a crummy script and bad production values after all.

Full Review… | June 16, 2001

The action gets tiresome early, and the inspiration-starved script shamelessly lifts key plot elements from The Parallax View and Manchurian Candidate.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
E! Online uneasy mix of laughs and thrills; suspense and soap.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Empire Magazine

Mel's sheepish grins, charming buffoonery and flashes of wit carry the picture to such an extent that we are generously forgiving towards the skimpy dividend that is the return for our investment.

January 1, 2000
Jam! Movies

Gibson delivers one of his best performances as Jerry; he finds ways to make a difficult, abrasive character likable and vulnerable.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Conspiracy Theory

Gibson and Roberts, throw in patrick stewart and the movie should have been a lot better. Decent movie but just okay.

John Manard

Super Reviewer

Another outstanding collaboration of the "Lethal Weapon" dream team Gibson and Donner, creating a funny, enthralling and exciting conspiracy thriller with all elements it needs. While Gibson's character is clearly a lunatic he finally may be onto something as suddenly an agency is out to have him killed, and only Julia Roberts (who never looked cuter) can help him. The chemistry between the two stars is great and helps a lot to make this work, the smart and engrossing script helps too and of course Donner knows how to direct chases. Sometimes the lunacy goes a bit over board, but the dots of humor doesn't make the overall threat any smaller and the movie always manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. Carter Burwell delievered an excellent soundtrack for it, too. And the last five minutes are near-perfect. Excellent thriller movie making.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

Whilst Mel Gibson's performance is ridiculously over the top, the storyline is of interest as a paranoia/conspiracy film.

In real terms, the storyline seems completely far fetched, but then aren't most conpiracies?

Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer


Paranoid cab driver Mel Gibson becomes the target for government spooks when one of his many bizarre conspiracy theories turns out to be true. The team that brought us the Lethal Weapon franchise reunite for more slapstick action in this Hollywood thriller that couldn't be more middle of the road if it were scattered with roadkill. Gibson goes through the usual likeable loon motions as he tries to romance terminally bland attorney Julia Roberts while being chased by the usual gun toting, black clad suspects in helicopters and on motorbikes. Donner is quite adept at mainstream action but thanks to some unnecessary chases and flabby pacing it gets less and less interesting as it goes and a potentially interesting plot twist is jettisoned in favour of the usual idiot pleasing happy ending, provided by a quite excruciating final scene. Slightly reminiscent of Jackie Chan's early combinations of espionage and comedy it's inoffensive junk, but it's still junk.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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