Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Short Cut Movie Review: The Imposter

Short Cut Movie Review is normally less than 400 words, but in some cases may go slightly over. This is my attempt to keep writing about as many films as I see without getting bogged down with trying to find more to say. They are meant to be brief snapshots of my reaction to a movie without too much depth.

Frederic Bourdin lives the American high school dream.
This documentary was short-listed as a finalist for the Oscar this year, but lacks the weight or the populism necessary to make the final five. This is the incredible story of a 23-year old French man who successfully passed himself off (for a short time) as a 16-year old boy from Texas who had gone missing 3 ½ years earlier. What’s more, he fooled the boy’s actual family, who believed they had gotten their lost son/brother back after years of alleged torture and sexual abuse. You won’t believe the strange turns this story takes.

Director Bart Layton uses dramatic recreations and in depth interviews with everyone involved including the missing boy’s mother, sister, and other family members, the private investigator who figured out the truth in the unlikeliest of places (this guy could be the main character in a story of his own, he’s so fascinating). Then there’s the too bizarre to believe you’re actually hearing it interview with Frederic Bourdin, the amoral and remorseless man who has impersonated countless people like a modern day Zelig. Layton wisely avoids allowing judgment to creep into the story. He gives all participants the space to tell their stories in their own words, something none of the news programs ever afforded the grieving family.

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