Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Movie Review: Conspiracy
Acting on a recommendation from Robin Lee Hatcher, I Netflixed CONSPIRACY last weekend . . . and was blown away and sickened by the truth of this powerful film. Entertaining? Not in the least. True? Yes. Illustrative? Absolutely.
The movie is a reconstruction of an actual meeting that took place outside Berlin during WWII. The Nazis had begun to gather the Jewish people in ghettos and, because the war on the Russian front was not going quite as well as expected, they didn't want to have to feed and house so many "Israelites." So they spoke of "evacuation"--but the evacuation in this case meant "extermination." One by one, the men around the table came to grips with this change in language . . . and began to understand that while Hitler would never publicly state he was killing Jews, that is fully what he intended to do. Millions and millions, until the German race was ethically "pure" and Europe had "no more Jews."
The film was scripted from notes which were supposed to be destroyed, but weren't. The meeting was shrouded in secrecy, but the truth, as they say, will out.
This film is alternately repelling and fascinating . . . repelling because these men had absolutely no regard for the sanctity of human life (except their own), and fascinating because of the way they twisted language. I found it interesting to think of their arguments in terms of human abortion--they "evacuate" wombs, don't they? Those who defend the practice of abortion deny that babies are human just as the Germans denied personhood to Jewish people.
The SS officers spoke of wasting bullets on Jews . . . so poison gas was cheaper and more deceptive. They recognized that if they were to tell their soldiers to shoot men, women, and children, that morale would invariably suffer . . . so they designed death camps and gas "showers." Reminded me of something I once read in the book SHOAH--the soldiers on cleanup detail there weren't allowed to refer to the bodies as "corpses" or "bodies"--they had to call them (a coarser word for) dung.
The film is rated R for a few instances of raw language. But it is a fascinating look into the minds of these smiling, polished men who sold their souls for power. Kenneth Branagh and Stanley Tucci are brilliant. Colin Firth is exceptional as a lawyer who keeps cautioning the others not to rush into this extermination, not because he loves the Jewish people, but because he loves the law. (Interesting juxtaposition: a man who loves the Law more than he loves people? Not so rare, after all.)
I highly recommend this film . . . but be warned, it is not entertaining. It is enlightening.
News flash: My friend Athol just sent me this link:
Check it out and you'll see that the prejudice against Israel continues.