The Imposter 2012

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(59) IMDb 7.5/10
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In 1994, 13 year-old Nicholas Barclay disappears from his home in Texas. Three years later he is found in Spain, disorientated and quivering with fear. His family is overjoyed to bring him home. But all is not what it seems. Whilst he bears many of the same distinguishing marks and tattoos, the boy looks decidedly different and 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 astonishing true story takes an even stranger turn. A worldwide Box Office sensation, The Imposter, is a gripping edge-of-your-seat thriller that proves truth is far stranger than fiction.

Starring:
Adam O'Brian, Anna Ruben
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 39 minutes
Starring Adam O'Brian, Anna Ruben, Cathy Dresbach, Alan Teichman
Director Bart Layton
Genres Documentary
Studio SPIRIT ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 17 December 2012
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 39 minutes
Starring Adam O'Brian, Anna Ruben, Cathy Dresbach, Alan Teichman
Director Bart Layton
Genres Documentary
Studio SPIRIT ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 17 December 2012
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bubo on 15 Sep 2013
Format: Blu-ray
SPOILERS!

This is a well-crafted film/documentary that does draws on the oddities and mind boggling cheek of a case of identity theft - someone assumed the identity of a missing Texan child and the child's family welcomed him back "home"; but - those who've seen it will understand - it left me uncomfortable in that it kind of re-victimizes in a rather cheap way the main victims of the fraud - the family of the missing child - who were duped by a serial identity imposter, owing partly, it has to be said, to a severe lack of education and cognitive power.

Indeed, towards the end of the film, the family's own position is put into question - as it was by the FBI - but I would err on the side of the known culprit, Frederic Bourdin, who has falsified almost 500 identities in his lifetime (source: Wikipedia) and is known to French authorities as "The Chameleon." The film also highlights the incompetence and stupidity of the authorities in charge of the case, making it all too easy for an intelligent rogue sociopath like Frederic Bourdin to get his way. Americans don't come off particularly well in this film, nor do French Algerians for that matter - but that is another story. It would be wrong to generalize about either group of people based on this isolated incident. However, that is what is most shocking about this film; on the one hand the incredible gullibility of some people, including people who should not be, such as FBI professionals; on the other hand, the complete lack of conscience and creepy quality of sociopaths who never hesitate to put themselves first.

Because it is uncomfortable viewing but also out of sympathy for the victims as well as the fact that the ending was disappointing and I was strangely bored throughout, this BD gets a three star score from me.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Olly Buxton on 11 Oct 2012
Format: DVD
"Imposter" is right: for large periods in Bart Layton's new documentary you really have no idea who is taking you for a ride.

It could be Frédéric Bourdin, it could be his adopted family, it could even be Bart Layton: The idea that an Algerian French 23 year old in the western Pyrenees could even conceive of impersonating a missing Texan teenager (and a blond haired, blue eyed teenager at that), let alone get as far as America and even to survive in the boy's family for five months is so outlandish that I supposed at first it must be a spoof.

But, as usual, truth is stranger than fiction. Here there are plenty of competing truths to choose from, among them Layton's: the director knowingly hangs his documentary around a long interview with Bourdin, the titular imposter: surely the last person you'd ask if you wanted to get to the bottom of the story. Not that Bourdin is any less than thoroughly engaging and charismatic. His recounting of events is brilliant and fascinating, and Layton constructs his story in such a way to ensure there are no doubts: we are compelled. The means by which Bourdin constructed his plan is quite ingenious. It involved the misdirection of a magician and conjuring tricks that a neuro-linguistic programmer might be proud to call his own. I wonder what Derren Brown would make of it.

Bourdin's recollections are intercut with interviews with various members of the Barclay family and the American officials who handled Frederic's "repatriation". Now it would be easy to put this down to American idiocy. But it's simply too confounding for that: The degree of credulity required of so many people transcends individual incompetence and asks deeper questions of our operation as social organisms.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sharon on 25 July 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's a documentary!!!...thought it was a movie, movie, but it is a documentary. I watched it anyway as had purchased it!! Turned out to be an interesting story. The sort of thing you watch if nothing better on, and then realize you actually get quite engrossed in it and want to see what happens in the end.
Sharon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BAZ316 on 10 Jun 2013
Format: DVD
Just to clear it up,this is not a film as such,it's a documentary with re-enactments and interview footage etc...
A 13 year old lad goes missing,only to seemingly turn up 3 years later looking and sounding different,because it's not him.

It is very interesting if warned what to expect,but the cover makes is seem like a normal style movie,so get over that and it is enjoyable,if that's the right word for a case so disturbing.

By all means watch it if it appeals,but be prepared for a documentary and to be angered come the end,some people just boggle the mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eddie on 6 Jun 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very well made doco with a great dvd transfer and packaging. would recomend to any one that likes good thrillers or docos
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Kroodsma on 6 Feb 2013
Format: Blu-ray
I don't ordinarily review movies on Amazon, unless there's something wrong with the packaging, picture quality, etc. In this case, however, I think a defense needs to be mounted.

I've been seeing a dearth of people complain about one of three things:
1. This isn't a film, it's a documentary.
2. The family/police are stupid, therefor this movie is stupid.
3. It's boring/fell asleep.

Number one is something that always gets stuck in my craw, though I don't think all the fault can land on the viewer. "Films" and "documentaries" are not mutually exclusive. I think most of the confusion for this stems from services like Netflix and Hulu, which lump cinematic, theatrically released docs with History and Discovery Channel specials. Documentaries are an equally valid way of telling a compelling and interesting story, and in some cases the best choice. Take The Imposter: it presents a story so outlandish and unbelievable that, in a narrative film setting it wouldn't hold up under any kind of scrutiny; the only thing that makes it believable is that real people are sitting right in front of you saying "yes, this really happened." Which brings me to complaint number two.

"These characters are stupid, how could they not tell?" I can sympathize with these complaints a bit when they're lobbied against fictional horror films, but in this case it seems unfair. First of all, the behavior of the people being documented isn't a reason for the document itself being bad. If anything, this is a selling point of the film; "How could they possibly not know? I have to watch to find out." Never mind that this point factors into the plot later in the movie, but it doesn't make the film makers dumb for wanting to document it.
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