A Terribly Twisted Thriller 

Thanks to Madman Entertainment, we had the chance to see Bart Layton‘s The Imposter  before its national release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema to see it because there is no better critic than yourself! 

the imposter image 1In 1994, thirteen year old Nicholas disappears in San Antonio, Texas. Three years later a young man is found in the Spanish village of Linares who appears to be this American kid. Is it really him? If so, how did he get from America to Spain without a passport? If it is not him, then who is he and why would he claim to be Nicholas?

This is the premise of a story that is truly so insane it has to be seen to be believed. Although it very soon becomes clear that the boy found in Spain is definitely not Nicholas, this turns out to be just the start of a whole series of bizarre twists and turns that repeatedly make you shout “What The F…?!” at the screen. Why would blue eyed All-American Texan boy Nicholas suddenly have brown eyes and a French accent? Why would his family not notice this and still take him in? Who is lying about what and why?

‘The Imposter’ contains elements of suspenseful deceit that we’ve seen before in Clint Eastwood’s ‘Changeling’ and Steven Spielberg’s ‘Catch Me If You Can’ and mixes these into a compelling thrill ride of a movie. And have we mentioned it is not only a true story, but an actual documentary that involves all the parties involved??

the imposter image 2Through interviews with the actual Imposter and his white trash Texan foster family it slowly becomes clear that everyone involved seems to be seriously messed up, and that it is highly doubtful that any of them are telling the whole truth. A lot of implications are made from both sides about what has really happened, but unfortunately the fate of young Nicholas is still a mystery when the credits start to roll. The more you think about all the different versions of the story however, the more disturbing ‘The Imposter’ becomes.

Unfortunately director Bart Layton seems very taken with the actual Imposter, even though this unlikeable man proves early on to be a pathological liar. This master of deception seems aware that he has done unforgivable things, but simply doesn’t care about that. This documentary could have been even better if the filmmaker would have tried to find out who this mysterious pretender really is, but since the director is so smitten with his subject this fraud gets to tell his own story – which we know cannot be true, since The Imposter couldn’t tell the truth even if he wanted to.