I couldn’t find her name anywhere on the credits, but I simply cannot believe that Rosie O’Donnell didn’t have anything at all to do with the film Conspiracy. The film is a thinly veiled pot shot at the current administration, or at least Dick Cheney. Gary Cole plays a guy named
Gary Cole is probably the only thing this film has going for it. Kilmer isn’t showing any chops here, and everybody else is mere window dressing. Even the locations are rather dull and bring to mind the minimalist approach of Eastwood’s Man With No Name films, only without the superb cinematography. This would just be a funny direct to video release if it weren’t so sad. The Eastwood images are such a stretch and just look plain ridiculous in this cheap, preachy film. Likely the largest line item on the film’s budget was Kilmer’s food services bill.
Conspiracy is presented in a dull 1.85:1 aspect ratio. If you are going to make a film in the middle of a lot of dirt, it is necessary to find a way to compensate for the almost monochrome nature of your locations. These guys complimented dull soft browns with a lot more dull soft browns. The picture is also often over bright in contrast, sun flares from the camera and other shiny surfaces washing out any chance the picture has of any detail and sharpness. Some locations are better than others, most notably interiors, which at least have correct lighting. Black levels are often pitiful and fuzzy. Don’t even get me started on the lack of definition or shadow detail. The night fight climax is so badly lit that you’ll miss some of what passes for action by not being able to make anything out. Heads up. Don’t even try.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is just as unimpressive as the video. There’s really no expansiveness to the sound field at any time in the picture. When you consider the open space locations, the audio feels very confining. Dialog’s OK, but that’s really all you’re going to get here. Even the little bit of soundtrack comes off muddled and tedious on the ears.
Apparently the studio felt as strongly about this film as I did. They included no extras.
Look. Low budget, no budget, I’ve seen just about everywhere in the range you can imagine. I’ve marveled at budgets of hundreds of millions and laughed at films costing under a grand to make. There’s a place for it all. Budget is also no indication of quality. We’ve all seen blockbuster dogs and the occasional independent gem. Even direct to video has produced some nice trinkets from time to time. Conspiracy has only one purpose, at least as far as I can tell, and that’s to make an unoriginal political statement. There’s not even anything wrong with that, but could you at least look like you’re trying? Neither the actors, camera operators, or writer look like they particularly care about what they’re doing here. If they don’t, why should I? Trust me. Skip this one all the way. “It’s world famous… well, county famous.”