Customer Reviews


57 Reviews
5 star:
 (22)
4 star:
 (15)
3 star:
 (10)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (6)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who's fooling whom?
"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...
Published 18 months ago by Olly Buxton

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Will give you an uneasy feeling (spoilers)
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...
Published 7 months ago by Bubo


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Will give you an uneasy feeling (spoilers), 15 Sep 2013
By 
This review is from: The Imposter [Blu-ray] (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who's fooling whom?, 11 Oct 2012
This review is from: The Imposter [DVD] (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. Are we simply wired, biologically, to fall for this sort of thing? How else could anyone believe for a moment that a hirsuit, olive-skinned, heavily accented Mediterranean man might be a fair-skinned American boy?

Still, there's a marked tension in early sequences: we are presented with a likeable, engaging, mercurial man, whom we know to be the villain. His cuckolds are credulous back-country folk and gullible law enforcement agents for whom it is hard to have any sympathy beyond a patronising one for their stupidity. As we watch, this feels a cruel and unfair conclusion to draw.

Our unease is resolved midway through, by the introduction of local sleuth Charlie Parker. He's a gem: a San Antonio private dick, appointed by a TV network to look behind the story of how this wonderful miracle really happened. But for the fact he must be 80 years old, he could have stepped out of a Raymond Chandler novel. Charlie gets a whiff of something, and he's off.

This individual? Patrick Barclay? Charlie's having none of it.

In a diner, over a plate of egg and fries, he conspirationally reveals facts that no-one else seems to have noticed (but which are head-slappingly obvious to us): his eyes are a different colour! And his ears are a different shape! Charlie read somewhere that that's how they caught James Earl Ray, so he matches the ears on PhotoShop. Charlie's a hoot, and he steals the second act.

Parker is also the instrument by which Layton's drama takes a brilliant turn: Charlie forms an additional hypothesis, which also seems blindingly obvious on hindsight, but this time not even we have thought of it: the family must have known this was not their son. Why else would a mother knowingly take a cuckoo into her nest? Charlie smells a rat. We watch, and we really hope he's found one, just for Charlie's sake.

The Imposter is a superb piece of entertainment. It's beautifully photographed: every frame, even of the interview segments, is set up carefully and richly coloured, and cinematographers Lynda Hall and Erik Wilson capture both the beauty and the hokiness of midwest America crisply. If there's a false step it's in the payoff, which can't quite deliver on the promise of the set-up:

But real life has a habit of refusing to follow the script.

Olly Buxton
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 'movie', 25 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Imposter [DVD] (DVD)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars INTERESTING DOCUMENTARY, 10 Jun 2013
This review is from: The Imposter [DVD] (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy movie, 6 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Imposter [DVD] (DVD)
Very well made doco with a great dvd transfer and packaging. would recomend to any one that likes good thrillers or docos
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, Cinematic Doc, 6 Feb 2013
By 
Stephen Kroodsma (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Imposter [Blu-ray] (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. It would be a pretty short film if the family immediately realized what was going on, now wouldn't it?

The last point is what really gets me. I've never been of the mind that the common audience member requires explosions and car chases to maintain interest in a film; I believe that most people are able to adjust their expectations for different kinds of movies. To say that this movie is boring flabbergasts me a bit, but for the moment I'll let that pass. I think this partially falls on that this is a documentary, and features a lot of people talking, as documentaries often do. The reason I'm confused is that what they're talking about is interesting, and interviews are cross cut in a way that the story is told fluid through various people. They'll finish each other's sentences, contradict each other, and give different sides to the same story. All it asks is for your attention.

Now, if you personally subscribe to any of the complaints listed above, I don't think that you're stupid or have bad taste. I'm not trying to make you feel small. I understand that documentary can seem like a genre reserved solely for education (I blame this on the History Channel and scores of lazy substitute teachers). The reason I took the time to write this exhaustive rebuttal is because I want to dispose of the myth that documentaries are boring, stale, or apart from the family of fiction film. Documentaries, as I said, can be just as exciting, engaging, and emotional. If you're unsure that documentaries are for you, The Imposter is a great place to start. It's very cinematic, it plays with sound design in really interesting ways that continually blurs the line between fiction and reality. Both the cinematographer and editor have backgrounds in fiction film, which makes this a great stepping stone to other documentaries. Finally, the central character in the film, Frederic Bourdin, is a fascinating guy. He's charismatic, friendly, and terribly unsettling to watch. Each bit of information you learn about him seems to reveal more missing pieces to the puzzle, rather than a step closer to completing it. And trust me, the title of the film doesn't give away the "twist," which, when it really does come, will knock your socks clean off.

I can't recommend this film enough. Give it a shot. Heck, if you watched it once and didn't like it, watch it again with my arguments in mind (I mean, you already bought it, right? Might as well get some mileage out of it). From there it's just a skip and hop to the poetic beauty of Errol Morris, the delightful weirdness of Werner Herzog, and the lyrical abstraction of Ron Fricke.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterwork, 20 Feb 2013
By 
Elleppi (Rome, Italy) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Imposter [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I read opposite reviews about this documentary but I took a risk and bought it: I'm glad I took it. This is a great doc, ell crafted, unconventional, audacious. It mixes interviews, re-enactement, both cinematographic and documentaristic narration, fact ad fiction not just for a self indulging approach but in order to increase the sense of mystery and confusion between what really happened and what the real characters of the story and the viewers at home think it happened. Of course it ends up giving you answers, but you still want to know more, because there's no real resolution to the intrigue. The narrative discourse reveals the content and is justified by it: you only realize at the end why and how the 2 sides are bound to each other and mutually interwolven.
No wonder it's produced by the same guys who made Man on Wire, where real footage, witnesses and re-enactement all contributed to create the story and so wonderfully led us through it.
The imposter, if possible, pushes the boundaries even further
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, 18 April 2014
This review is from: The Imposter (Blu-ray)
Thought I was watching a documentary about the making of the movie until I fell asleep. Whatever the opposite of 'Action packed, edge of your seat thriller' is, this is it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars Only in America, 26 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Imposter [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Just plain daft. I tried it with Angelina Jolie, explaining that I was her long lost husband. Very nearly worked!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent thriller, 22 Dec 2013
By 
M. Brookes - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Imposter [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is an excellent thriller, it's filmed as a documentary with some dramatisation and is based on the case of a French conman who pretends to be a boy who disappeared several years previously from a town in Texas. You are told that he isn't the boy from the start and it focuses on how he came to steal the missing boy's identity.

It's an interesting story and it's told well. The story transforms after the man is accepted as the missing boy, but it all seems a bit off, why have they taken this man into their home? What starts as something a bit odd and creepy turns into something more sinister,

The pacing is excellent and many fictional thrillers could learn a lesson or two from this story and how it is presented. Unfortunately like many things in real life there isn't a clean ending to the film, but the journey and the questions along the way make it well worth a watch.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa78d4a80)

This product

The Imposter [DVD]
The Imposter [DVD] by Bart Layton (DVD - 2013)
11.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews