Film: Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy Theory is a 1997 American action/paranoid thriller film directed by Richard Donner, starring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts. The original screenplay by Brian Helgeland centers on an eccentric taxi driver who believes many world events are triggered by government conspiracies.

Jerry Fletcher is a man in love with Alice Sutton, a woman he observes from afar. She works for the government. Fletcher is an outspoken critic of that government. He has conspiracy theories for everything, from aliens to political assassinations. But soon, one of his theories finds itself to be accurate. But which one? Some dangerous people want him dead and the only person he trusts is that woman he loves but does not know.


Conspiracy Theory contains examples of:

  • Arc Words: More like an Arc Song Lyrics, but yeah; "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You"
  • Apologetic Attacker: Jerry apologizes to a policeman he must fight while escaping from the hospital.
  • Berserk Button: Jerry outright says, "I'm not a violent man, but if you hurt Alice, I swear, I'll kill you."
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Jerry, part in thanks to the brainwashing he suffered and the gravy for the brain.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Jerry's apartment is rigged to burn down completely but to leave the rest of the building unharmed. He also has a secret basement built in and a fireman's outfit lying around.
  • Creator Cameo: Richard Donner as Jerry's first fare, wearing shades.
  • Deadly Euphemism: "Gravy for the Brain" for mind-altering drugs.
  • Drugs Are Bad: No! Not the gravy for the brain!
  • Home Field Advantage: When the bad guys come calling, Jerry's prepared. Not only does he have numerous warning systems, he also spent a great deal of time turning his home into an instant firetrap, allowing him to escape, but which was set up in such a way that it didn't spread to other apartments.
  • Kill Sat: One of his theories involves the use of the Space Shuttle to kill the President. Implied to be true.
  • Mushroom Samba: We're shown a bit of how Jerry's perceptions are altered after he gets injected with LSD and subject to torture. Not played for laughs.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers laid out the tale of a nut who it turns out actually has the right theory. The actual movie was different and some viewers felt the trailer offered the more interesting story.
  • Not Me This Time: Dr Jonas claims responsibility for all known assassination attempts except the Reagan shooting.
  • Playing Against Type: Good-natured, avuncular Patrick Stewart plays the Big Bad.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Jerry probably qualifies: he peeps through Alice's window, bugs her at work, and maintains a Stalker Shrine. He is, however, harmless (to her, at least).
  • Title Drop: Jerry's newsletter is called Conspiracy Theory.
  • Waxing Lyrical:
    Jerry: I — I resolve to call you up a thousand times a day and, um, ask you if you'll marry me in some old fashioned way. And every — everything you do is magic.