Sunday, 2 December 2012

The Imposter (2012)

Tom:
The Imposter,2012,UK
Director: Bart Layton
''You can't prepare to play a role of a person you don't know, I couldn't be Nicholas Barclay, because I didn't know Nicholas Barclay''

Film #5 of The December Project

A story so incredible, so amazing, so mysterious, that he had to be true. From the Producers of the brilliant Academy Award Winning Documentary 'Man on Wire', comes 'The Imposter' a film based on one of the most mind boggling mysteries of recent years.

In 1994, 13 year old Nicholas Barclay disappeared in San Antonio Texas. He resurfaced in Spain, but Nicholas he was not. French man Frédéric Bourdin looking for a chance, consumed the boys identity, thus spiraling into a haunting and intense saga. 

From its very beginning, I was completely immersed in 'The Imposter', its almost like a folk tale, a French kid who was almost disowned as a child, and never really had a chance, discovered a case of a missing child in Texas and decided to inhabit that personality, its an incredible tale and its even more incredible that it worked.

The documentary is brilliantly executed, Directed by Bart Layton, whom keeps the film running at a perfect pace and readily explores Bourdin and the complexity of his character, and complex he is. On one hand I can understand him wanting to escape his previous life and become someone completely new, but I can understand the mindset that he would attempt to perceive a grieving family.

All the subjects interviewed for the film are interesting and have something useful to say, especially Bourdin, who is fascinating to listen to and try to understand his mind set.

When you finally think you have the film figured out, it takes a completely different turn, and presents the case that Nicholas disappearance was caused by his family. If so, why are they so accepting of Bourdin as there son ? Its incredibly unsettling and cold. Who can we trust ? like human life, The protagonists and antagonists are unclear. In his feature length directorial debut, Layton displays the best attribute a documentary filmmaker can have, he doesn't take sides, he explores both aspects thoroughly.

'The Imposter' is a brilliantly made documentary, always enthralling, constantly questioning and always thought provoking, its creepy and its unsettling and it never lets its subjects of the hook.

****

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