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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 16 August 2017
Utterly compelling
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on 20 March 2017
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on 22 October 2013
What a strange film. It's not at all what I expected.

This isn't the kind of documentary you're used to seeing, with many of the scenes being re-enacted like a Hollywood blockbuster, narrated by the Imposter himself. What you see here is a sad, and curious, tale of a man who infiltrated another family's life in a bid to make his lies a reality, just because he could.

You don't for once feel sorry for him, only the family (and countless others) he managed to swindle. To wrap it all up you not only hear him talk about his new family (married with kids after years of pretending to be other people's children and bouncing from home to home apparently unrestricted) you also get to see him dance like Michael Jackson.

A curious watch, if nothing else, and recommended if you like out of the ordinary tales of human lives and psychotic behaviour; he'd be a great case study for anyone looking into compulsive lying, at any rate!
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on 24 April 2017
There goes some time I wont get back
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on 6 February 2013
It was more like a documentary than a feature film and it wasn't for me. I was quite disappointed by the content.
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on 10 June 2013
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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on 9 September 2013
An intriguing true life story of an anguished family taking in a stranger who has convinced them he is their missing son. It is an interesting concept and on the surface your natural thoughts are what was going through their minds? They must be crazy, but this touching, curious story unfolds with such great style that you're are constantly changing your own perspective on the story.

Talking heads narrate their involvement in the story whilst the dramatization is filmed like a standard thriller much in the vein of Crimewatch. To hear each person's story in chronological order makes for an interesting watch. You feel like a detective piecing together these strange jigsaw pieces. Sometimes it all fits nicely and then some revelation will come to light that throws the whole story out again.

It is difficult to watch this film without a cynical eye. All the time you are wondering what and how certain things happened. At the very least how a man can pass for a teenager and fly to the other side of the world without any countries authorities doing any more stringent checks is both outlandish and frightening.

The look and style of the film helps make this feel like a general Hollywood blockbuster. Essentially it is a glossy, smart looking docu drama. It is filmed with a relatively unbiased eye and presents all sides to the story fairly evenly, however at the end when further accusations come to light it does feel like everyone has made their mind up already.

As far as documentaries go this is one of the better ones and will suck you into its amazing story. The story is so unbelievable it's hard to believe this wasn't concocted by some bigwigs in a studio.
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on 18 August 2013
I have just watched this after reading many recommendations online, and I have to say, I agree with every one.

This is a 2hr documentary about the incredible story of Nicholas Barclay, a 13 year old Texan boy who mysteriously went missing in 1994, and how a French boy 7 years older (who we find out is on the run from the police) manages to fool the Spanish and American authorities into thinking he is Nicholas. The family of Nicholas are equally as convinced, until a retired detective begins to put the pieces to the much bigger puzzle together. The documentary puts together interviews with everyone involved, along with old footage and reconstructions which tell the story in outstanding detail.

There are several twists in the story that I don't want to spoil, but cannot recommend this 'film' enough. It is a fantastic insight that is really so bizarre and disturbing, you couldn't write it, let alone believe it is all true. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it is.
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on 4 November 2013
From the very outset you're taken on a journey. Watching Frederic Bourdin looking out through the camera at you with his eyes that hold lies, you're not quite sure who to feel sorry for. The Imposter takes you through a variety of emotions from disgust to anticipation and even empathy.

Frederic Bourdin created a lie so unbelievable that it was believed but the question looms; was it believed?

In watching the events unfold and hearing the accounts from the different people involved it becomes apparent that there is something else going on than the original narrative. The Imposter raises as many questions as it answers and truly opens your eyes to a varied set of possibilities as to why this family so readily accepted this man into their lives.

Stranger than fiction doesn't even start to describe the story that unfolds in this film. Bart Laytons feature film debut is both thought provoking and chilling to the core.
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on 6 February 2013
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.
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