The Conference follows a group of tech industry leaders who gather for an exclusive annual event at a remote island resort. The story focuses on Ethan Walsh, the young and ambitious CEO of a fast-growing startup. Ethan is thrilled to be invited to the prestigious conference for the first time, seeing it as an opportunity to network with tech luminaries and potential investors.
Upon arriving on the idyllic island location, Ethan is awestruck by the beauty and extravagance of the resort. He soon meets the other conference attendees, including the ruthless and manipulative Lucy Khan, CEO of a leading social media platform, and the eccentric billionaire Tyler Cox, CEO of a rocket company.
During the opening night party, Ethan hits it off with another first-time attendee, a brilliant neuroscientist named Danielle Kim. Danielle is wary of the other cutthroat executives and investors in attendance. The two outsiders form an alliance, excitement about navigating the event together.
The next morning the conference begins in earnest, with tech demonstrations, speeches, and panel discussions on the industry’s hot topics. Tensions flare during a debate about regulation, revealing the leaders’ greed and lack of accountability. Ethan and Danielle exchange concerned looks, realizing this elite gathering has a dark underbelly beneath its glamorous facade.
That night at dinner, the attendees all get matching devices implanted into their wrists by Tyler Cox’s company. He explains the biotech devices will allow seamless communication and virtual projections via brain-computer interface. Everyone is enthralled by the groundbreaking technology and interfacing capabilities.
After the procedure, Ethan feels instantly more connected to the other leaders, able to visualize their thoughts and memories. He and Danielle sneak away during a lavish party, overwhelmed by the intense mental stimulation and looking to disconnect. Out in the lush wilderness they kiss under the stars, escaping the pressure of the conference.
The next day, Ethan struggles to filter the nonstop data flooding his enhanced mind. The tech makes him feel powerful yet increasingly paranoid. When a private meeting with a major investor sours over differing values, Ethan suspects sabotage from his jealous peers.
That night, during an extravagant masquerade ball, he confronts Lucy about stealing his deal. Their mental clash escalates until Lucy collapses, blood leaking from her eyes. The ball descends into chaos as others suddenly double over in pain, the untested devices violently glitching in their brains.
Ethan rushes to find Danielle amidst the carnage, but Tyler blocks his path, blaming Ethan for the widespread malfunctions. During their standoff, a hideous truth is revealed – Tyler has orchestrated the potentially lethal tech failure as a warped demonstration of his power.
Enraged, Ethan mentally attacks Tyler, willing the defective device in his head to self-destruct. Tyler screams in agony before falling down dead. Danielle appears and is horrified by what Ethan has done, realizing he has become corrupted.
As authories arrive to contain the situation, Ethan flees into the wilderness, his enhanced mind overloaded by anger, paranoia, and guilt. He collapses on a cliffside, pulses of electricity surging through his brain. The movie ends with Ethan’s fate ambiguous, as waves crash against the rocky shore far below.
In its examination of ambition, greed, and the dark side of technology, The Conference uses its dystopian premise as a microcosm for larger societal concerns. By the end, the promise of advancement has collapsed into chaos, a cautionary tale about unchecked power and disruption. Ethan serves as an ambiguous protagonist, an initially naive striver corrupted by the irresistible forces he hoped would elevate him.
On Netflix now.