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So stilted and dully lensed that only die-hard conspiracy theorists will play along with its harebrained logic.

With: Peter Fonda, Travis Fimmel, Michael Desante. (English dialogue)

Whether auds find credible the idea that Freemasons are responsible for worldwide terrorism, including 9/11, is really beside the point in Paul Finelli’s “Harodim,” since the film is so stilted and dully lensed that only die-hard conspiracy theorists will play along with its harebrained logic. There’s something almost quaint about making Masons the global bogeymen after all these years, yet the pic’s lack of visual acumen, made more leaden by uninspired editing, is devoid of either tension or charm. Set in one room where a rogue intelligence agent interrogates a terrorist mastermind, “Harodim” is a strictly VOD affair.

As if to avoid lawsuits, the word “Mason” is never used, though Finelli peppers the pic with visual references to the brotherhood’s symbols, and the title itself is a Masonic word meaning “overseers.” Logic, in any event, is beside the point as underground officer Lazarus Fell (Travis Fimmel) grills a cleaned-up Osama bin Laden (Michael Desante) in a hidden Viennese metro station. (For some reason, bin Laden’s name isn’t mentioned, but his identity is the only unambiguous element here.) The terrorist explains he was an unwilling pawn in the hands of an international cabal of first-world politicos and financiers who are responsible for everything from the 1933 Reichstag fire to Al Qaeda and global warming.

Too bad Lazarus Fell doesn’t have an assistant (perhaps Noah Flood?), but he does have a father, Solomon (Peter Fonda), whose presumed death in the World Trade Center triggered the son’s vendetta. Solomon, however, didn’t really die: As the architect behind every major event of the last 50 years, he’s come to ensure that his clueless son finishes off the newly enlightened stooge bin Laden.

Yup, it’s a lot to take in, and that’s not counting the old canard about unmanned drones rather than airliners hitting the Twin Towers. All these revelations are divulged during a nonstop talkfest interrupted by flash insertions of docu footage meant to give this nonsense an air of authenticity. Unfortunately, editing appears to have been done using Final Cut Semi-Pro, and the nonfiction bits do nothing to back up the pic’s wild claims. Thesping is uniformly one-note (what’s Fonda even doing here?), with Fimmel particularly weak, and lensing is lifeless.



Production: A Terra Mater Factual Studios production, in association with Tomcat Prods., Finger Films. (International sales: Terra Mater, Vienna.) Produced by Walter Koehler, Thomas Feldkircher. Co-producer, Joe Germinaro. Executive producer, Joanne Reay. Directed, written by Paul Finelli. Co-directors, Ivana Chubbuck, Joe Germinaro.

Crew: Camera (color), Tomas Erhart; editor, Thomas Ilg; music, Depth Cone; production designers, Patrick Steve Mueller, Helen Kraiczy; costume designer, Cinzia Cioffi; sound (Dolby Digital), Peter V. Meisselmann; line producer, Jutta Andorfer, Dinah Czezik-Mueller; associate producer, Sophokles Tasioulis. Reviewed on Blu-ray, Bucharest, June 20, 2012. (In Cannes Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 94 MIN.

With: With: Peter Fonda, Travis Fimmel, Michael Desante. (English dialogue)

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