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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Films - The Imposter - Directed by Bart Layton

Star rating - 3/10

After watching this documentary from director Bart Layton I was struggling to come to terms with who is really fooling who here. Call me a sucker for a great strap line, but with adjectives like 'riveting' and 'unmissable' being used about it, I was relishing the prospect of the dark twist at the end - more of that later.

It's the true story of how French 23-year-old Frédéric Bourdin, of Algerian descent - complete with French accent, dark brown eyes, and dark hair - came to pose successfully as a missing working class American boy. Nicholas Barclay was 13 years old when he disappeared from his Texan home in 1994, and it was over four years after that when his family got a call from Spain to say their missing son had been found. Small details like his former blue eyes, blond hair, and American accent were either glossed over, or hidden by Bourdin's amazing deception. And he was accepted back into their home as their own, complete with lurid stories of torture and sexual abuse by the military.

But what is most shocking about the case is how his family came to believe that it was their son, despite all the obvious evidence to the contrary. It is truly amazing what people will believe when they want something to be true. But far from being riveted by this incredible tale, frankly, I was bored to begin with; hung on in there for the promised dark twist to come; only to leave the cinema feeling swindled at the lack of one. 

Bourdin is an out and out narcissistic liar to be sure, but no-one else in the film comes out with much credibility either. I am not sure why it is causing all the stir that it is, but I ended up feeling thoroughly depressed by the total lack of intelligence displayed by almost everyone in it. Thrilling it is not.

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