Cinema Review: The Imposter

DIR: Bart Layton • PRO: Dimitri Doganis • DOP: Lynda Hall, Erik Wilson • ED: Andrew Hulme • DES: Marcia Calosio,  Mariona Julbe • CAST: Adam O’Brian, Frederic Bourdin

Texas, June, 1994. Thirteen year old Nicholas Barclay is last seen playing with his friends, and somewhere along the short walk back to his house, disappears. Spain, June, 1997. Nicholas Barclay has been found alive and well by local police, who contact his family who have believed him to be dead. They bring him home, and the family are finally whole again. But this isn’t sixteen year old Nicholas Barclay; this is a 23-year-old French man by the name of Frédéric Bourdin, impersonating their son. And this isn’t devised in the mind of a Hollywood screenwriter; this is a documentary and one of the best movies of the year so far.

If the above paragraph seemed a bit spoilery, it isn’t. All the cards are laid on the table in the first five minutes of the movie, and the remainder of the time is spent watching the Barclay family and Bourdin slowly reach a head-on collision as its revealed who’s who. Outside of the talking-head interviews with everyone involved, the ‘dramatic recreations’, editing and score give the documentary a psychological thriller vibe, one that only hammers home the chilling fact that this is all based on fact.

Like any psychological thriller worth its salt, not everything is as it seems, and even though we’re presented with all the information from the get-go, and how it ends is evident from the beginning, the movie still has a few jaw-dropping tricks up its sleeve, and watching the net close in around Bourdin is hugely entertaining to watch. But unlike any psychological thriller of recent times, The Imposter will linger in your mind for days afterwards. Highly recommended.

Rory Cashin

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
102 mins

The Imposter is released on 24th August 2012

The Imposter – Official Website


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