Interview With the Assassin

Interview With The Assassin 2002 Trailer

Interview With the Assassin is a 2002 faux documentary where a former marine confesses to a skeptical laid-off news cameraman that he was the shooter on the grassy knoll on November 22, 1963. Walter Ohlinger, the presumed killer of President John F. Kennedy, is dying of cancer and wants to tell the world what he knows. But is Ohlinger crazy? Even at the end of the movie the indications are contradictory.

In one scene, Ron Kobeleski, the cameraman, and Ohlinger have traveled to Dallas. In a gunshop, Ohlinger selects a rifle similar to the one he says he used to kill JFK. Ohlinger also selects a pistol. But he tells Kobeleski to purchase them, since Ohlinger is in a database forbidding him to buy firearms. All very innocent at the time. But later it seems as if Kobeleski is being set up as the patsy for something: those firearms now owned by Ohlinger are registered to Kobeleski, since Kobeleski had done the actual purchasing.

Interview With the Assassin is an example of some of the fine conspiracy-type movies which have been made over the years. Jesse Walker, in his book, The United States of Paranoia, offers some other examples of conspiracy-type movies:

  • The Parallax View (1974). This one always gets mentioned in the conspiracy movie lists. The story concerns a reporter’s dangerous investigation into an obscure organization, the Parallax Corporation, whose primary, but not ostensible, enterprise is political assassination. [1]
  • Murder by Decree (1979). I had already seen this one, but watched it again after Walker’s book reminded me. Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson investigate the “Jack the Ripper” murders. The trail eventually leads to the Freemasons and the British royal family. This film gives a plausible solution for the Ripper mystery. The film’s story of the plot behind the murders is taken from the book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution by Stephen Knight. [2]
  • Mickey One (1965). “Kafkaesque paranoia” involves a stand-up comic (Warren Beatty) who flees Detroit for Chicago, taking the name Mickey One. Who is hunting Mickey One? A strange character, “The Artist”, eventually unleashes his Rube Goldberg-like creation, a deliberately self-destructive machine called “Yes.” [3]
  • Seconds (1966). Arthur Hamilton is given a new identity by “The Company.” But the new identity isn’t so great. Can Hamilton have a different identity? Things get complex until the end, where Hamilton’s new “identity” is to be dead. [4]
  • Telefon (1977). A special “Telefon book” contains the names of Soviet sleeper agents. These are under mind control, waiting for a prearranged signal. Years pass but the sleeper agents are still lurking in the United States. Suddenly they are being activated and American counterintelligence is thrown into confusion when seemingly ordinary citizens start blowing up what are, in some cases, formerly top secret facilities that were declassified or abandoned years before; the agents commit suicide afterwards if they survive. [5]
  • Tribulation 99 (1991). A parody of CIA interventions in developing countries as well as a critique of paranoia and conspiracy theories, presented as a pseudo-documentary that tells the revisionist history of alien intervention in Latin America in 99 brief ramblings. [6]
  • Winter Kills (1979). Nick Kegan (Jeff Bridges) is the son of world famous tycoon Pa Kegan (John Huston) and the younger half-brother of the late President Timothy Kegan who was slain by a lone sniper 19 years earlier. When an ex-convict named Arthur Fletcher (Joe Spinell) makes a deathbed confession to Nick by claiming that he was the second of two riflemen who shot the president and was sub-contracted by an unknown agency, Nick sets off on a quest to discover the truth about his late brother’s murder. [7]
  • Scorpio (1973). A CIA agent named Cross (Burt Lancaster), a successful but retiring assassin, is training “Scorpio” to replace him. But then CIA tells “Scorpio” to kill Cross for suspected treason and collaboration with the Russians. [8]
  • The Domino Principle (1977). Serving time in prison, Roy Tucker (Gene Hackman) is approached by a man named Tagge (Richard Widmark) on behalf of a mysterious organization with an offer: in exchange for helping him escape and start a new life, Tucker must work for the organization for a few weeks. [9]
Pi (1998) Official Trailer

Walker (op. cit.) does not include in his mention of conspiracy-type movies the 1998 movie Pi (directed by Darren Aronofsky). Maximillian “Max” Cohen (Sean Gullette), the story’s protagonist, is a number theorist who believes that everything in nature can be understood through numbers. Max seeks a pattern in the stock market, which causes agents of a Wall Street firm to become interested in his work. One of the agents, Marcy Dawson, offers Max a classified computer chip called “Ming Mecca” in exchange for the results of his work. Also interested in Max are some Hasidic Jews who believe that the Torah is a string of numbers that form a code sent by God. [10]

Jesse Walker, in The United States of Paranoia, offers a framework for understanding conspiracy theories. He divides them into five basic categories, like Max Cohen seeking a pattern in the stock market. (Background: Theorizing About the Theories, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of May 21, 2014.)

Walker’s book is excellent, yet I have my own quibbles about it. His “theory about the theories” is like the five blind men describing an elephant: Walker’s framework is not exactly wrong, but it’s not exactly right either. My own framework for the conspiracy theories involves the two brain hemispheres: left brain and right brain. Walker is a left brain person and marshals “Reason” as a defense against an ongoing invasion from the right brain. The conspiracy theories themselves are “where fact meets fiction”, i.e., where right brain meets left brain. What to do with these pesky theories? Walker is like the “good cop”, reasoning with the suspect. The “bad cop” would be like Newsweek magazine, which on its May 23, 2014 cover warned readers that conspiracy theories are “a Clear and Present Danger.” In other words, Newsweek is saying conspiracy theories are now a matter of national security! (Background: Newsweek: Conspiracy Theories “A Clear and Present Danger”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of May 19, 2014.)

You can see that now a sort of “Berlin Wall” is being planned to divide the two brain hemispheres. This psychological defense mechanism construction is mirrored by real events regarding Russia and hints of a new “Cold War.” Russia is “right brain”, incomprehensible to the “left brain” West. The great Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky, exemplifies how the West (left brain) considers Russia (right brain) to be a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. In his stories, Dostoevsky’s characters appear incomprehensible to the Western mind: if a character obtains a fortune he exclaims, “I am ruined!”; if he is acquitted of a murder charge, he cries, “I am condemned!” (Further background: Periodic Pan-Slavism, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of April 20, 2014.)

——- Sources ——-

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Parallax_View
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_by_Decree
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_One
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seconds_%28film%29
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telefon_%28film%29
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Baldwin#Major_works
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Kills_%28film%29
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpio_%28film%29
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Domino_Principle
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi_%28film%29

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About ersjdamoo

Editor of Conspiracy Nation, later renamed Melchizedek Communique. Close associate of the late Sherman H. Skolnick. Jack of all trades, master of none. Sagittarius, with Sagittarius rising. I'm not a bum, I'm a philosopher.
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