Conspiracy Theory (1997)
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Critic Reviews for Conspiracy Theory
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.
...more long-winded than cunningly elaborate, more simplistic than elegantly simple, and more nonsensical than anything else.
...the strong impact that Gibson makes as damaged goods is diluted by selling Jerry as cute and redeemable.
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.
Audience Reviews for Conspiracy Theory
Stilted offering that's opener is that we accept Gibson's lunatic fringe wackjob taxicab driver as a nice guy. Doesn't materialize. I found myself thinking instead that here was an example of the type of antics that got him railroaded out of the fast lane of Hollywood. I'm not a big Julia Roberts fan, but Gibson was so offensive that for once I sympathized with her, particularly when while he was in the middle of a loony rampage and she was called on to look at him with warmth. There are many scenes like that. Believability quotient: zero. I kept wondering when he was gonna get tasered. Patrick Stewart, the bad guy in these proceedings, plays against the overplayed lunacy and comes off doing a superior sinister indeed. Imagine a root canal ... that's what watching this is like.
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.
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?
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