THE IMPOSTER – The Review
Review by Barbara Snitzer
That Je Ne Sais Quoi quality is like obscenity, only in the sense that while indefinable, you know it when you see it.
The new documentary THE IMPOSTER is certainly not obscene, but it is an imposition on one’s time. It recounts a compelling story, employing re-enactment techniques that are surprisingly original and not an automatic turn-off, but the movie doesn’t shift into its promised high gear until the 75th of its 95 minutes. Pas bien.
It’s an interesting story: A young French sociopath pretends to be a missing Texas teenager and surprisingly, most of all to the Frenchman himself, he gets away with it. Having spent his entire life searching for love and a place to belong, he has found it. Lacking formal schooling, I guess he was never told to be careful what you wish for.
His new family in Texas just might be more “effed up” than he. He thinks they believe his act, and when he realizes they know he’s not who he claims to be and yet continue the ruse, he understandably gets the willies, as do we. Director Bart Layton may have legal limitations to say what his film implies at its conclusion, so we are left with neither a catharsis nor a resolution, just frustration and an uncomfortable reminder that we can’t always tell who the creepy people are.
Alas, as a snob, my time is valuable, so I can’t ultimately recommend this film.
But I do want to sate your curiosity, so I found a clip for you to watch. You need only spend 2:33 (even the making-of “featurette” on YouTube at 4:03 I found to be too long).
The Imposter Summary
Voilà. I’ve saved you 93 minutes of your life. De rien.
Two post scripts:
1. Someone needs to make private investigator Charlie Parker a TV pundit (and not just because he has the perfect name)
2. Dr. Bruce Perry is interviewed about his observations why Frédéric Bourdin’s claims to be Nicholas Barkley were false: the doctor claimed that Tyler’s having grown up in an American-English speaking household before puberty meant he would never lose his accent. Not true. I knew American man from Michigan who had moved to Austria at age 20; he was 32 when we met. His English had a German accent that had become so ingrained, that while his English remained fluent, he could not speak it without a German accent. The doctor’s other observations seem valid and do not detract from his credibility, but perhaps anecdotal evidence shouldn’t always be discounted in science, à mon avis.
2 1/2 of 5 Stars
THE IMPOSTER opens in St. Louis today at Landmark’s Tivoli Theater
Read more of Barbara Snitzer’s reviews at http://lemoviesnob.com/