Conspiracy (2001)

Directed by
-Frank Pierson

Writing credits
Loring Mandel
(written by)

On January 20, 1942, with the tide of war turning in favor of the Allies, a small group of SS officers, government ministers, and Nazi officials met near Berlin to decide the fate of Europe's Jews. Based on the only surviving record of that meeting, Conspiracy is a powerful combination of historical reconstruction and speculation that attempts to offer new insights into a pivotal moment in history.

The cast does a marvelous job of fleshing out the documentary evidence to create convincing characters. Kenneth Branagh is especially chilling as SS Chief of Security Reinhard Heydrich, who uses a combination of charm and ruthless power-mongering to gain support for his plans. Colin Firth is fascinating as Wilhelm Stuckart, a lawyer who sees the brutal tactics of the SS as a threat to his own intellectualized anti-Semitism, and Stanley Tucci gives a wonderfully understated performance as Adolf Eichmann.

Conspiracy is a carefully crafted, completely unsensational film that offers ample proof of the banality of evil. There are no histrionics and no comic-book Nazi villains, just a small group of politicians and war-weary soldiers arguing about the meaning of words and the logistics of extermination, calmly preparing to unleash an unimaginable horror on the world. --Simon Leake, by


Kenneth Branagh ... Reinhard Heydrich

Clare Bullus ... Maid (as Claire Bullus)

Stanley Tucci ... Adolf Eichmann

Simon Markey ... Stenographer

David Glover ... Supervising Butler

David Willoughby ... Orderly #1

Tom Hiddleston ... Phone Operator

David Spinx ... Cook

Dirk Martens ... NCO

Barnaby Kay ... Rudolf Lange

Peter Sullivan ... SS.Col. Eberhard 'Karl' Schöngarth

Ben Daniels ... Dr. Joseph Bühler

Andreas Günther ... NCO2 (as Andreas Guenther)

Ewan Stewart ... Dr. Georg Leibbrandt

Brian Pettifer ... Dr. Alfred Meyer

Kevin McNally ... Undersecretary Martin Luther

Florian Panzner ... Luher's Driver

Ross O'Hennessey ... Adjutant #1

Colin Firth ... Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart

Nicholas Woodeson ... SS Lt.Gen. Otto Hofmann

Jonathan Coy ... Erich Neumann

David Threlfall ... Dr. Wilhelm Kritzinger

Hinnerk Schönemann ... Stuckart's Driver (as Hinnerk Schonemann)

Ian McNeice ... Dr. Gerhard Klopfer

Owen Teale ... Dr. Roland Freisler

Brendan Coyle ... SS Maj.Gen. Heinrich Müller

Sebastian Jakob ... Maid's boyfriend (as Sebastian Jacob)

This movie could have been entitled, "how to chair a board meeting" or "how not to chair a board meeting" - given that the outcome of the meeting was the "final solution".

Gen. Heidrich with consumate skill and care manipulated the gathered Nazi hierarchy to the pre-arranged and pre-destined solution to the Jewish question.

There are a number of moments of exceptional power in the movie - one is where Kritzinger realises the truth, another is where Heidrich makes it clear to Shtukhard that he will be victimised if he does not cooperate. But the best moment must be when even those in favour realise that they are not there to decide the matter but to be to lend their complicity to the pre-made decision.

The psychology of the writing is insprired. I have never been so totally captivated by the mix of acting, subject matter and drama. This is a must see. (IMDb)