Director: Frank Pierson
Actors: Kenneth Branagh, Stanley Tucci
Runtime: 96 min
In late January of 1942, in Wannsee near Berlin Nazi bureaucrats held a meeting which brought together 15 representatives of different branches of the German state, the army, the SS, the Nazi party and so on. The sole topic of the meeting was the “final solution to the Jewish question“. The goal of the meeting was to achieve consensus on the methods and dynamics of the destruction of the European Jews. Wannsee conference was not about deciding whether the Holocaust should happen, since in January of 1942 the Holocaust was already in full swing – from deaths of thousands in the Jewish ghettos and concentration camps to mass executions and killing by gas. Main aim of the SS in organizing this meeting was to obtain an unconditional consent and full cooperation of all the other branches of the German state in the plan which was prepared in advance and worked out by the SS.
The central theme of the movie Conspiracy is precisely this meeting, from its beginning to the end, organized and dominated by prominent SS officers, General Reinhard Heydrich and Colonel Adolf Eichmann. The film script and directing heavily relies on the minutes of the Wannsee conference and other documentary material. Even the dialogues are reconstructed based on the court records from the trial of Eichmann in 1961 in Jerusalem.
You have probably seen a movie about Nazi concentration camps or saw documentary footage showing dehumanized, tortured camp inmates clinging on edge of life and death or thousands of naked skinny bodies being bulldozed into mass graves. If you’ve ever wondered who were the brutes who organized this and how they could come up with something like that, this movie will give you a pretty good idea how to answer these questions.
Usually, we instinctively look for good and bad figures in movies, some which we can support and with whom we empathize, and those others we reject or condemn, but in Conspiracy there is no such a thing. Here, all are monsters. Indeed, in this movie there are no good guys and bad guys, they are all part of the same criminal system — they just have different perspectives and different priorities.
Please note the coldness, professionalism and simplicity of the meeting where the decision with such consequences was made. It is of the atmosphere of corporate and government meetings where such decisions are made, where even today decisions are being made that will have tragic consequences for the lives of millions.
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