5.3/10
363
6 user 4 critic

The Conspiracy (2008)

La conjura de El Escorial (original title)
16th century ruler King Philip II of Spain maneuvers within a court of deceit and betrayal.

Director:

Antonio del Real
Reviews
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Isaacs ... Antonio Pérez
Julia Ormond ... Princesa de Éboli
Jürgen Prochnow ... Espinosa
Jordi Mollà ... Mateo Vázquez
Joaquim de Almeida ... Escobedo
Juanjo Puigcorbé ... Felipe II
Blanca Jara ... Damiana
Fabio Testi ... Duque de Alba
Rosana Pastor ... Doña Juana de Coello
Pablo Puyol ... Insausti
Concha Cuetos ... Bernardina
Tony Peck ... Tiépolo
Pilar Bastardés Pilar Bastardés ... Reina Ana
Pepe Martín ... Don Antonio Pazos
José Lifante ... Mayordomo Escobedo
Edit

Storyline

16th century ruler King Philip II of Spain maneuvers within a court of deceit and betrayal.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Antonio del Real often plays a fleeting role in his films. In The Conspiracy he appears briefly as one of Escobedo's doctors. See more »

Connections

References Conan the Barbarian (1982) See more »

User Reviews

 
Watch it for the intrigue, not the swordplay
8 September 2008 | by rogornmoradanSee all my reviews

The 'conjuration' in the title refers to a real event: the political assassination in Madrid of a high-ranking official in the Spanish court in 1578. A plaque marks the spot today in the exact corner of the street where it happened.

The script begins with the scene of the murder and then takes us back to recount the events leading up to it. There are many characters involved, and although at the beginning it is not clear why we are being introduced to so many, eventually they all find a reason for being there, from a priest who ends up a the centre of the investigation, to a young 'morisca', a half-Moorish girl who is plucked from the streets to serve in a rich house.

The film is not very imaginatively shot and some of the expository dialogue is quite clumsy: some actors seem to be there just to summarise in words what the atmosphere at the time was, which is always a pitfall in historical films. Many actors means many lines of dialogue and this film -not short, about two hours and a quarter long- is full of conversations, often stilted and stagy. There's a lot of standing upright with broody brows with the purpose of looking imposing and serious, in bunches around the king or other important characters. It is not a slow film, however, but it's not a swashbuckler either. In fact, the one time when we are given a good old sword-fight, it goes so lamely clichéd, with stalls of fruit and ceramic bowls being turned upside down in a street market and a couple of unrealistic fight moves, that it feels utterly wrong.

In its favour, the costumes are great and many scenes are shot at El Escorial itself, the palace-cum-monastery where king Phillip II pored over the business of governing the world's leading superpower. Some of the actors are quite good in their roles, and this despite a cast mixing Spanish and foreign stars. I would single out for praise Julia Ormond, who looks not a day younger than her 43 years old. With her ageing beauty, she brings alive one of the most fascinating characters of her time, the eyepatch-wearing princess of Eboli. Joaquim de Almeida is also very good as the vigorous secretary Juan de Escobedo, acting his scenes with much-needed energy. It is a pity, though, that the role of Jason Isaacs, Antonio Pérez, fizzles out somewhat towards the end, when he should be one of the most memorable characters, according to the real story. Juanjo Puigcorbé plays a more ironic and even affable Phillip than the sombre and adust quasi-monk we have seen in other portrayals. And I personally took a liking to Jürgen Prochnow's character, a local 'alguacil' (sheriff) who becomes involved in the matter both through his job and his private life.

The question at the heart of the film is: did King Phillip II order the dismissal of one of his own officials? This has been much debated by historians, and the evidence is not conclusive. It may have been in his favour because of political rivalries, but the public backlash would have been uncomfortable (as it in fact was), even for a monarch as self-assured and with so great a grip on power as he happened to be. This matter is one of the central charges against him laid out by the so-called 'Leyenda negra' (Black legend), with which other European rulers and political enemies sought to discredit him in public, in particular in the Netherlands and Britain. Whether the film takes a stance on it or not, you will have to see it.


14 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Spain

Language:

Spanish | English

Release Date:

5 September 2008 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

The Conspiracy See more »

Filming Locations:

Baeza, Jaén, Andalucía, Spain See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

EUR15,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,784,297
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (European Film Market)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Holiday Movies on Prime Video for the Whole Family

Prime Video has you covered this holiday season with movies for the family. Here are some of our picks to get you in the spirit.

Get some picks



Recently Viewed