The Imposter (2012) Mini Review

Who is The Imposter?

Directed by: Bart Layton

Starring: Adam O’Brian

Synopsis (via Rotten Tomatoes):

In 1994 a 13-year-old boy disappears without a trace from San Antonio, Texas. Three and a half years later he is found alive, thousands of miles away in a village in southern Spain with a story of kidnap and torture. His family is overjoyed to bring him home. But all is not quite as it seems. The boy bears many of the same distinguishing marks he always had, but why does he now have a strange accent? Why does he look so different? And why doesn’t the family seem to notice these glaring inconsistencies?

Mini Review:

The Imposter begins with a simple mystery. What happened to Nicholas Barclay, a teenage boy who disappeared in 1994? The question may be simple, but the answer to the mystery which unfolds throughout the documentary is anything but, with layers of intrigue being piled upon the fascinating story.

The story is told through a series of interviews with the family members of Nicholas, a private investigator and – significantly – Frédéric Bourdin, a man who claimed to be the family’s long lost son, alive and well three years after his disappearance. These interviews are interspersed between cinematically shot recreations of the events, bringing a unique style to the documentary which is in fitting with the tone. There is a dark sense of foreboding throughout, which builds heading into its climax making for gripping viewing.

Though we do get answers to the burning questions they are in fact complex, thought provoking, chilling and ultimately unnerving answers. Often times the answers also raise further questions – how far would you go to find a home? What would you do to bring back a loved one feared lost? Can we always trust those we hold dearest? Can we trust what we’re being told as truth? To give my opinion on these questions would give too much away perhaps. The Imposter is one of those films where the less you know the better heading in. Just prepare for an eerie experience.

In short: 

The Imposter is a gripping documentary, telling the tale of a remarkable true story. Impressively executed storytelling.

Rating (out of 5):

4 Stars

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