Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Friday, 24 August 2012 00:00

The Imposter' flaunts his con game

imposterfilm.com imposterfilm.com
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

The ability to deceive, to take on different personas, takes center stage in many entertaining films. But British director Bart Layton’s documentary The Imposter takes deception to another level, and Layton lays it out in the opening minutes of the film, knowing that revealing this bizarre story does not in the least diminish its mesmerizing appeal.

The facts are few and straightforward. On June 13th, 1994, in a San Antonio, Texas, suburb, blond-haired, blue-eyed, 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay did not return home. Three years later, the Barclay family received a call from authorities in Madrid, Spain, reporting that they had Nicholas in custody, an escapee from the abuse of a sex trafficking ring. This individual had brown hair and brown eyes, was 23 years old, and spoke with a heavy French accent. The Barclay family embraced him and verified that he was, indeed, Nicholas. In fact, he is Frédéric Bourdin, born 1974, a man who has impersonated others.

In a style reminiscent of Errol Morris’s, The Imposter presents its narrative through atmospherically lit reenactments by actors while the voices of the principals guide the action, including Nicholas’ mother, sister, and, most astonishingly Bourdin himself. The story involves the FBI, the US Embassy in Madrid, the media, a private investigator, and more.

Even though I had read David Grann’s 2008 New Yorker article about Bourdin, as The Imposter unfolded over its 95 minutes, I still found it difficult to believe the mind-boggling events and assertions. It didn’t take long at all for my attitude to shift to not wanting to believe the sad, even tragic story of the family’s insistence that this con man is their missing Nicholas. Do they want to believe so badly? Was there foul play? How could Bourdin sit on camera and so fully recount his actions and manipulations—what he calls his brainwashing.

Along with other recent films recounting incredible stories and probing disturbing human psychology (notably Searching for Sugar Man the former, Compliance the latter), I have to conclude that not only is fact much stranger than fiction, it’s also much more engrossing. The Imposter is provocative, haunting, and effectively presented. At a Landmark Theatre.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr
KDHX Blog

Local Artist Spotlight


Tok Releases Gold Dollar Hen House Volume 3

Tue April 8
Tok is a Festus based rock band who has been rocking St. Louis for 20 years. They are due to release their third installment of their Gold Dollar Hen House collection on February 28, 2014 at Schlafly's…

KDHX Recommends

April
Thursday
17

The Sheldon Sessions presents Todd Snider

The Sheldon Sessions presents Todd Snider.   Presented by The Sheldon in partnership with KDHX. For more information, sheldonconcerthall.org.


April
Friday
18

The Minus Five

KDHX welcomes The Minus Five to Off Broadway on April 18th.   For more info, offbroadwaystl.com.


April
Saturday
19

Get Down To Business: Getting Booked Locally and Beyond

Ever wondered how to get that talent buyer to open your emails?  KDHX is here to help.   Join St. Louis promoters Steve Pohlman of Off Broadway, Brian McCormac of The Old Rock House, and Mike Cracciolo of The...


Online Users

3 users and 7017 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook