Conspiracy theories are nothing new, but thanks to technological advancements and the ability to use social media to reach countless people, they are more prevalent in society than ever before. The internet, however, is not the only place for individuals to exchange theories, photographs, evidence and seek out information. Books, magazines, and television shows, such as “Unsealed Conspiracy Files” which can be found on Netflix instant streaming, also add fuel to the conspiratorial fervor. While I do find some of them interesting, by and large, I tend to disbelieve the great majority of conspiracy theories, with the exception of the JFK assassination. I have read a number of articles and books, as well as watched numerous television specials and documentaries on the subject. That is the one conspiracy that I admit I am fascinated by. I sat down recently to watch the movie “The Conspiracy” on Netflix, and while it didn’t have anything to do with the assassination of President Kennedy, it most certainly held my interest.
Written and directed by Christopher MacBride (Sleep Lab), “The Conspiracy” originally premiered on September 21, 2012 at the “Austin Fantastic Fest.” Two documentary filmmakers, Aaron (Aaron Poole) and Jim (James Gilbert), set out to make a movie, not about a particular conspiracy theory, but about a man, Terrance (Alan C. Peterson), who makes it his life’s work to expose the validity of the conspiracies. He is someone who takes to the street with a megaphone and spouts off his beliefs in the direction of office buildings and to pedestrians passing by. The walls of his apartment are covered with literally hundreds of newspaper clippings, anything that he deems of a suspicious nature that is being done, especially by the government. He also frequents internet chat rooms where he interacts with like minded individuals.
The filmmakers lucked onto Terrance thanks to someone who sent them a video of him. What mainly interested Aaron and Jim, was not so much what Terrance was saying, but all of the comments of support he received from people who were agreeing with him. After several recording sessions with Terrance, the filmmakers don’t hear from him for a month. Finally, they go to his apartment, but according to the landlady she hasn’t seen him. Aaron and Jim bag up his newspaper clippings before they leave.
Aaron sets about picking up where Terrance left off. He wants to know what the man was working on. Jim, on the other hand, is skeptical and now that their subject is no longer available for filming, wants to abandon the project. The confliction in Jim is evident: Part of him feels that people like Terrance waste their lives chasing down endless leads about secret organizations vying for global domination. He also states, however, that if people like Terrance are correct, and a select few individuals are really in charge of everything, then they have always been in control and they always will be.
Eventually, through a tireless effort on Aaron’s part, he comes across what he thinks to be a pattern in Terrance’s work. A series of dates, that all take place the day before important historical events occur. After punching the dates into the computer, Aaron comes across an article written by Mark Tucker (Bruce Clayton), about an organization called the Tarsus Club. The dates, in and of themselves, were interesting to him, but when he learns that the Tarsus Club has met on those dates, he becomes even more convinced that there is some sort of conspiracy that involves the club, whose members are among the wealthiest and most politically prominent.
Jim agrees to help Aaron look into Tarsus. They post things on-line, asking people to contact them with any and all information they have on the organization, but all they come up with are dead ends. The only piece that has been written on the club was the one by Marc Tucker, who is seemingly nowhere to be found; that is, until one day, when he contacts the filmmakers. He agrees to speak to them, as long as his face is blurred out, and provided they take down everything they have posted pertaining to Tarsus.
I liked how MacBride incorporated real news footage, as well as speeches by politicians, which helped to give the film a more authentic feel. According to an interview I read, that the director gave, his work on researching the various conspiracy theories took him longer to do than the actual writing of the script. I thought it was clever on MacBride’s part to synthesize a number of other conspiracy theories pertaining to secret, powerful organizations, whose membership is comprised of the most elite members of society, and creating his own faux club for the film.
What information does Marc Tucker give to Aaron and Jim? Is it substantial enough that they will want to continue investigating the Tarsus Club? Will they discover the truth behind the club’s real purpose for existence? What will happen to them if they do? Those questions and more will be answered if you take the less than ninety minutes it requires to watch this interesting and effectively done film.