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Imposter
     

The Imposter

Director: Bart Layton

Cast: Frederic Bourdin, Carey Gibson, Beverly Dollarhide

 
Documentary filmmaker Bart Layton uses vivid reenactments to tell the tale of a Texas family whose prayers are answered when their missing teenage son returns home after nearly four years, and the mystery that begins to emerge as the newcomer's actual identity comes into question. San Antonio, Texas: 1994. A local teen vanishes after going out to play basketball. As

Overview

Documentary filmmaker Bart Layton uses vivid reenactments to tell the tale of a Texas family whose prayers are answered when their missing teenage son returns home after nearly four years, and the mystery that begins to emerge as the newcomer's actual identity comes into question. San Antonio, Texas: 1994. A local teen vanishes after going out to play basketball. As the clues run cold over the next three years, his grieving family continues to fear the worst. Incredibly, in 1997, they receive word that their son has been found in Spain. Despite being ruthlessly tortured by his abductors, he miraculously appears to be in good health. But the more questions that inspectors ask, the less his answers seem to add up. And while his tattoos match those of the kidnapping victim, that's just about where the resemblance ends. Meanwhile, everyone but the victim's family seems to recognize that something is amiss.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
If The Imposter was presented as a feature film with a traditional narrative rather than a documentary, odds are most viewers would dismiss it as laughably improbable. With twists that feel like they've been gleaned from the pages of a pulpy page-turner, implausibilities that seem as if they were whipped-up by a half-baked mystery novelist, and a compelling emotional arc that will leave many (especially parents) feeling as if they've been run through a wringer, the movie uses handsomely shot reenactments to draw us in before allowing the actual participants to weave a story that can only be classified as too strange for fiction. San Antonio, Texas: 1994. A 13-year-old boy named Nicholas Barclay vanishes without a trace after going out to play basketball at a local park. As the clues quickly run cold, his grieving family fears the worst. Three years later, in Linares, Spain, police receive an anonymous call from a pair of tourists who say they have found a frightened teenage boy. After being taken into custody by the authorities, the volatile youth claims to be none other than Nicholas, and the process of reuniting him with his family gets underway. Having allegedly been abducted and tortured by the military, he miraculously appears to be in good health. Yet his answers are always vague, and his mannerisms are skittish. His tattoos match those of the missing teen, but that's just about where the resemblance ends. Meanwhile, Nicholas' older sister Carey travels to Spain to bring him back home. Unsurprisingly, his family welcomes him back with open arms. All the while, no one -- not Nicholas' family nor the FBI agent assigned the case -- seems to recognize the deception taking place right before their very eyes. It's hard to imagine the horror any family must feel when a loved one simply disappears, but in the haunting opening scenes of The Imposter, the defeated look in Nicholas' mother's and sister's eyes speaks volumes. Meanwhile, mere minutes into the film, another side of the story comes into focus as 26-year-old Frédéric Bourdin recalls the carefully calculated measures he took to trick the authorities into believing he was Nicholas in a bid to start a new life. Appearing to relish the opportunity to tell his unlikely tale, Bourdin's enthusiasm stands in stark contrast to the Barclays' sunken sense of desperation, creating a compelling dynamic that reverberates through the entire film. Director Bart Layton displays a considerable talent for pacing and tone, allowing key revelations to hang in the air just long enough to let us identify with both the perpetrator and his victims, and offering cinematic reenactments that give the documentary the look of a hybrid feature. Although we know Bourdin's deception will ultimately be revealed, Layton's techniques allow us to revel in the suspense of precisely how it will happen without undermining the inherent tragedy of the real-life drama. Likewise, the director's smart use of music -- in particular 16 Horsepower's version of the traditional American folk song "Wayfaring Stranger" -- is both atmospheric and functional. As with any documentary, half of the success lies within finding a subject or situation that's inherently fascinating. With his first feature doc, Layton proves himself not only adept at seeking out such true-life tales, but also telling them with the flair of a naturally gifted storyteller.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/22/2013
UPC:
0883476081564
Original Release:
2011
Rating:
R
Source:
Indomina
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:39:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Making The Imposter; Trailer; Unlock actual government case files with QR code inside

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Frederic Bourdin Participant
Carey Gibson Participant
Beverly Dollarhide Participant
Charlie Parker Participant
Nancy Fisher Participant
Bruce Perry Participant
Philip French Participant
Adam O'Brian Actor
Anna Ruben Actor
Cathy Dresbach Actor
Alan Teichman Actor
Iván Villanueva Actor
Maria Jesus Hoyos Actor

Technical Credits
Bart Layton Director
Brian Albritten Sound/Sound Designer
Sonia Aranzabal Production Designer
John Battsek Executive Producer
Cecilia Bayonas Casting
Katherine Butler Executive Producer
Marcia Carols Production Designer
Simon Chinn Executive Producer
Mike Cooper Sound/Sound Designer
Kaye Charles Cruz Sound/Sound Designer
Paul Davies Sound/Sound Designer
Robert DeBitetto Executive Producer
Poppy Dixon Co-producer
Dimitri Doganis Producer
Charles Ethridge Sound/Sound Designer
Liz Gallacher Musical Direction/Supervision
Allen Green Sound/Sound Designer
Lynda Hall Cinematographer
Kathleen Hasay Musical Direction/Supervision
Andrew Hulme Editor
Tabitha Jackson Executive Producer
Mariona Julbe Art Director
Vanesa Monreal Production Designer
Anne Nikitin Score Composer
Robert Sharenow Executive Producer
Andrew Stirk Sound/Sound Designer
Molly Thompson Executive Producer
Danielle Thompson Casting
Vanessa Tovell Co-producer
Nick Walker Sound/Sound Designer
Erik Wilson Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Imposter
1. Disappeared
2. Prove Who You Are
3. Didn't Stop
4. Convinced
5. U.S. Citizen
6. Unsure
7. Back to Normal
8. Media Attention
9. Questioning
10. Identified
11. Digging for the Truth
12. End Credits

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