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Conspiracy Theory

It's hard to believe that a film starring both Mel Gibson and Patrick Stewart could have no redeeming qualities whatsoever, but Conspiracy Theory comes mighty close. Gibson stars as Jerry Fletcher, a New York cabbie who's obsessed with trendy conspiracy theories to the exclusion of all other things, but when his incessant snooping draws the ire of a mysterious government agent (Stewart), Jerry turns to Federal attorney Alice Sutton (Julia Roberts) in the hopes that she can protect him. Gibson, who may be a fine actor in most things, is completely miscast here, and he fails to be convincing as a hyperactive, paranoid washout. Conspiracy Theory may have been better with a stronger character actor in the leading role, but the meandering plot still leaves a great deal to be desired. The fact that the script was written by Brian Helgeland, the co-scenarist of the tightly plotted L.A. Confidential, seems shocking at first — but then again, did Helgeland really write it? Or did the government force him to write it while under the influence of sodium pentathol in the hopes of discrediting all conspiracy theories? Time to put some more padlocks on the A/V cabinet. Good transfer, DD 5.1, trailer, textual supplements.

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