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The Imposter (2012)

Review by-Jarrett Leahy

On June 13th, 1994 a 13-year-old boy named Nicholas Barclay goes missing from his rural neighborhood located just north of San Antonio, TX. For the next three years, the Barclay family searches in vain to find their missing child, when miraculously they are contacted by officials located in Spain who have information regarding the whereabouts of a young man claiming to be their kidnapped son. From that starting point unravels an implausible and astonishing story that by the end will leave you floored.
Missing poster-Nicholas Barclay-946271

The Imposter retells the story of Frederic Bourdin, a French citizen who duped a family in Texas into believing he was in fact their child who had gone missing over three years prior. Through the use of interviews, both with the various members of the Barclay family and with Bourdin along with various archival news footage, we slowly discover how lies on top of lies snowball and set in motion one of the most preposterously brazen attempts at fraud and identify theft ever reported. So many questions arise as this story reveals its many secrets. How did the family allow themselves to taken in by this person? If put in the same situation, would I be swindled as well? How did our government allow this person into our country? How did the filmmakers of this documentary convince the family to agree to do these interviews?

But as the movie poster states, “There Are Two Sides To Every Lie,” and just when you think you know how things are going to turn out, the rug is pulled out from under you. Frustrations and disbelief with the people involved quickly turn to astounding bewilderment as the final twenty minutes of this film smacks you in the face with more twist and turns than Lombard Street in San Francisco. An emotionally evocative roller coaster ride, The Imposter is one of the most suspenseful and intriguing documentaries of recent memory.-JL

Grade: A-

Edited by-Michelle Zenor

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