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It’s 1994: a 13-year-old boy disappears from his home in San Antonio, Texas. Three and a half years later, he is found alive, thousands of miles away, in Spain. Disoriented and quivering with fear, he divulges his shocking story of kidnap and torture. His family is overjoyed to bring him home. But all is not what it seems. Sure, he has the same tattoos, but he looks decidedly different, and he now speaks with a strange accent. Why doesn't the family seem to notice these glaring inconsistencies? It's only when an investigator starts asking questions that this astounding true story takes an even stranger turn.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Some very smart people are missing the boat on this one, which surprises me because Layton's magnificent final shot couldn't be more pointed. There is no ambiguity, no mystery, no unanswered question (apart from what happened to the real Nicholas Barclay, which is no doubt a sad but thoroughly commonplace story that we'll never hear). And while there's a twist at the end, it's not the one cited in most of the reviews I've read. The Imposter is many things—an incredible true story, a queasy black comedy, a formally audacious doc/fiction hybrid, an uninflected portrait of a sociopath—but first and foremost, it's a creative essay about confirmation bias, an "affliction" that, as we see here, spares nobody. Whether through…
What a piece of work is man!
Our species never ceases to amaze me. The fact that this increasingly bizarre story is real is something that still makes me dizzy from all the implications it bears with it.
This documentary is a masterful feat of storytelling and characterization without bias. It mixes the real with dramatization beautifully, thus slowly laying bare a story that is unbelievable, infuriating and captivating. It has the guts to place the titular imposter center stage, relying on the strength of his story. He is a bizarre character and the more I got to know about him, the more I felt myself being drawn into his story, wondering whether…
Having already seen the disappointing fictional film, The Chameleon, which also dealt with the same story I think it may have slightly impacted my enjoyment of this documentary as I was familiar with the many twists in this remarkable and often unbelievable story. However, that doesn’t change the fact that this documentary from debut feature director, Bart Layton, is an incredibly accomplished film that brilliantly weaves a story that raises far more troubling questions than answers.
It is best to go in knowing as little as possible about the events of the film which means I will avoid talking about specifics in my review and try and be as general as possible. However, if you still haven’t seen it just…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
This was a very, very well-made, visually appealing documentary. While there were scenes of "re-enactments" they were beautifully done. The camera work in The Imposter was close to genius. There is a scene towards the end, when the private investigator is standing next to the hole being dug in the backyard, where the camera zooms in on an aerial view, that will stay with me for a long time.
It is not just Frédéric Bourdin, the Frenchman posing as a Texas boy who went missing almost 4 years prior who makes me sick, surprisingly enough. Former FBI special agent Nancy Fisher terrifies me, in the fact that someone so incompetent was in charge of helping the public. The fact that…
We've found a kid... about 14... 15 years old...
After working in television since 2004, mostly in the documentary genre, Bart Layton makes a brilliant feature film directorial debut with this stranger then fiction documentary. It helps that the story itself is so unbelievable, but a lot of credit needs to go to Layton for how he unfolds the story to his viewers. The film could easily be called a thriller as it contains more suspense then most big Hollywood films of that genre.
The film involves the disappearance of a 13 year old Texas boy in 1994 and the events that unfold when he is reported found over 3 years later in Spain. That should be enough of…
The Imposter is such an incredible documentary as it has the following key elements: a compelling real life story, well-acted and stylized reinactments to bring the interviews to life, and delicately crafted editing, sound design, and cinematography. The title character in this story of a con-man who takes the identity of missing children is presented not as an antagonist, but as a character on equal footing with the others who are interviewed - the family members of missing Nicholas, and various investigators. We learn more of his history at the end, but the movie is essentially just a short period of his life.
The intrigue of the story centers mostly on this imposter character but all the mystery comes back…
What a crazy mystery! I found this quite a creepy viewing experience. It's the kind of thing that could easily give someone nightmares. I actually couldn't wait for it to end, just because it was unpleasant.
However, as a film it's done quite well. Like far too many other documentaries, there are some questionable reenactments and filming techniques, but The Imposter does draw you in.
5 * editing!
oh my fucking God.
This is a crazy ass story and I can't believe it's real.
Maybe the most effective use of those dumb Errol Morris recreations I've seen. Great non-narrative, narrative cinema that manages to elucidate an incomprehensible character in the process, well, a little bit anyway.
Incredibly disturbing and fascinating, he even had me fooled for a second there!
Has a definite Thin Blue Line feel with its seamless interjection of reenactments, and is probably the most "cinematic" documentary I've seen, keeping its focus on tension, intrigue and drama more than it does depth and insight.
Incredibly entertaining, the 90 minute run-time flies by almost a little too quickly.
I actually have two different ears
An admirably witty 'fuck you' to true crime addicts. (Here's a fun/horribly depressing experiment: show this doc to any of your friends who can't stop raving about MAKING A MURDERER, and see whose story they find more credible.) Alternatively, one could describe this as the American CLOSE-UP, substituting for Kiarostami's sober humanism an acidic irony tempered by compassion for Nicholas' sister, Carey Gibson, who is given the most screen time after Bourdin. The less said about him the better, though you can't help but imagine the violent indignities he must have suffered as a kid (it's mentioned that his right hand and ankles were broken and left untreated, and that he really did have cigarette burns on the back of…
[2-20]: I have seen these and organised them roughly in order of how immediately you must watch them.
These are my favorite films of all time. Some of the rankings may be estimated, ratings are subject to frequent…