The modern day is regarded as the age of information, but with a population overwhelmed by multiple channels of competing data, much of it contradictory, unfiltered and biased if not actively misleading, it might be better seen as the age of disinformation, allowing conspiracy theories to take root and flourish, appealing to prejudices and easier to repeat than disprove, often suggesting that failure can be attributed not to personal failings but to the actions of an enemy working against the common good.
Two documentary filmmakers in search of a subject for their next project, Aaron and Jim stumbled upon an online video mocking a man who aggressively professed conspiracy theories on street corners; locating him and interested in what drove him, they met and interviewed “Terrance G” in July of 2011 in his apartment, a warren where every surface was covered in newspaper clippings linked by yarn.
A promising place to start their work, Jim clear in his mind that it was “not the theories but the people who believed in them that attracted me,” any followup was derailed when Terrance vanished without trace and gaining access to his apartment the pair found it ransacked, Aaron piling Terrance’s discarded notes into a black bin liner to reconstruct his “research” to ascertain what the missing man had discovered and where he might have gone – or been taken.
Convincingly shot and presented as a documentary, The Conspiracy is written and directed by Christopher MacBride and stars Moonshine‘s James Gilbert and The Void‘s Aaron Poole as Jim and Aaron, one maintaining a healthy professional detachment from the elusive subject of interest while the other takes his first bite from the poisoned apple and finds himself swallowed whole, every connection taken to be a clue to a deeper puzzle hidden beneath which consumes his mind, demanding explanation.
Absorbing and alarming, drawing parallels from the sinking of the Lusitania to the attacks of September 11th and wrapping them in the ancient mythology and rituals of the cult of Mithras via the exclusive globe-spanning Tarsus group, The Conspiracy is a work of fiction but one which remains believable even as it spirals inward from mystery to horror, in its depiction of the credulity of the masses and how easily they can be manipulated and in reminding how far the elite will go to protect their own interests.
Human psychology primed to seek and recognise patterns so they can be predicted and comprehended, from the patterns of the seasons to the warning signs which indicate an oncoming storm, the need to feel in control in an increasingly chaotic world and the lack of responsible editorial oversight in the media tied with the proliferation of self-moderated internet content has led to a swell of outlandish propositions taking hold in the public consciousness, in the age of anti-vaxxers and election deniers The Conspiracy is more disturbingly relevant now than when first released a decade ago.