Based on the only surviving record of the infamous 1942 Wannsee Conference, the BBC/HBO produced Conspiracy
reconstructs the two-hour meeting during which leading members of the SS and the Nazi government made definitive plans for the genocide of Europe's Jews. Sixteen men sit around a table and politely discuss the mechanics and ramifications of murdering millions. As SS General Reinhard Heydrich, overall architect of the Final Solution, Kenneth Branagh is brilliant, charming, manipulative and threatening, a cultured man seemingly without a soul. As his aid, SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann, Stanley Tucci is the incarnation of the banality of evil, an efficient and self-effacing bureaucrat in a fine performance marred only by a hint of the actor's American accent. Colin Firth is a powerful foil for Branagh as Dr Wilhelm Stuckart, author of Nazi Germany's race laws and a stickler for the rule of law, no matter how insane the law may have become; while David Threlfall makes a striking impression as the one man who comes closest to taking a moral stand, Dr Wilhelm Kritzinger. Directed in an elegantly controlled style by Frank Pierson, Conspiracy
is the Janus face of the 1957 classic 12 Angry Men
and a chilling companion to the BBC/HBO Churchill drama The Gathering Storm
On the DVD: Conspiracy comes to DVD with text profiles of the four leading actors and the director and two featurettes, one running two minutes, the other four, neither of which is any more than an electronic press-kit. Sound is clear, perfectly good Dolby Surround, while the picture, though anamorphically enhanced at 16:9, is no more than adequate. --Gary S Dalkin
Based on the transcripts (and filmed in real-time) from the 1942 Wannsee Conference which, over the space of 2 hours, drew up the blueprint for the extermination of Jews by the Nazis. Instigated by Reinhard Heinrich (Kenneth Branagh), a group of high-ranking Nazi officials met to discuss the final solution to 'The Jewish Question'; this resulted in the extermination of over 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.