Starring: Adam O’Brian, Anna Ruben, Cathy Desbrach
You may like this if you liked: Catfish (Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, 2010) Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, 2010), Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (Peter Joseph, 2011)
The Imposter tells the true story of Spanish con artist Frederic Bourdin and how, despite being 21, claimed to the Spanish authorities that he was a homeless teenager. Desperate to give a false identity, he stumbles across police records and claims to be a 16 year old from America that has been missing for three years called Nicholas Gibson. He is then reunited with his ‘family’ and despite so many obvious differences in appearance and character; the Gibson family through desperation to find Nicholas at first take him in as their son without question.
I am ashamed to say that I do not watch enough documentaries as there are so many brilliant ones out there. The Imposter is an excellent documentary film that is also an unforgettable cinematic experience. The immediate reaction when hearing about this story would be as to doubt that any family would believe a complete stranger to be a beloved missing family member. This film shows the family with absolute and genuine integrity and tells the story exactly how it was, and it is impossible not to be sucked in, amazed and heartbroken. There is also a very frank interview with Bourdin himself throughout the narrative that adds to the emotional intensity and involvement.
Despite being a documentary, The Imposter has many cinematic qualities. Visual reconstructions are shown throughout the narrative that are superbly directed and hauntingly shot adding to the involvement. As the narrative develops it is far from predictable and more questions are posed, some still unanswered today, and all told in a way that is devastatingly gripping and emotionally involving for the viewer. The whole story is portrayed and told so well that The Imposter stands up very well against any fictional Hollywood thriller, and is probably a more rewarding and involving experience.
Unforgettable and deeply involving The Imposter is not only a gripping documentary but a brilliantly put together cinematic experience that grips till the very end.