A documentary centered on a young man in Spain who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.A documentary centered on a young man in Spain who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.A documentary centered on a young man in Spain who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.
You couldn't make this stuff up.
'The Imposter (2012)' is one of those movies that you really need to see to believe. As such, I'll try my very best to avoid spoiling even its most basic story beats. Still, I'd advise not reading further if you intend on watching the piece, which I highly recommend you do, because it feels as though the less you know, the more potent the experience will be. That said, the documentary tells an almost unbelievable tale that kicks off with a missing child and only gets stranger and sadder from there. It's very forthcoming with its first major twist, opting to reveal the nature of its eponymous imposter surprisingly early. Rather than use it for a shock later down the line, it uses it to drown the entire affair in dramatic irony. This choice transforms the piece from focusing on what its central con is, to how that con was even successful in the first place. It allows the flick to ruminate on some interesting themes of deception, perception and ignorance. It's never as straightforward as you think and it still provides plenty of powerful twists and turns, despite the fact that what could have been its most major one is - as I mentioned - laid bare almost as soon as the thing starts. The film plays out a bit like the con it retells, allowing some of its subjects to manipulate the audience just as they manipulated people in real life. For the most part, it remains neutral and allows its viewers to make up their own minds. Because of the ever-shifting nature of the story, that isn't as simple as it would first seem. You're likely to be turning the plot over in your mind long after the inevitability unsatisfying conclusion has been and gone. The piece does end on a pretty damning statement from its eponymous trickster, which almost solidifies its (or, rather, its makers') true feelings towards its subject matter and yet doesn't feel like a betrayal of the flick's otherwise distant approach. The film really is captivating. It's actually, if you'll pardon the cliché, stranger than fiction; if it were a traditional film, you'd accuse its plot of being too unbelievable. It's an entertaining and well-executed documentary that makes excellent use of surprisingly formalistic recreations and effectively candid 'talking head' segments. At the end of the day, it portrays a really sad situation and it doesn't even pretend to provide an answer to the most burning question it raises. It's an accomplished piece of work. 7/10.
- Jan 31, 2022
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