Pardon my French, but what the fuck?
Sorry about that, but that’s the best way to describe The Imposter, an acclaimed documentary from British filmmaker Bart Layton that tells the story of … well, let me try to explain:
In 1994, 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay vanished from his neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas. A little over three years later, “Nicholas,” who would then have been 16, resurfaced — in Spain. But the typical American teen now had a French accent, darker hair, and eyes that were no longer blue, but brown.
Nicholas’s family, apparently overjoyed at the reappearance of the boy, flew him home to Texas and welcomed him back into their lives. This, despite the fact that “Nicholas” was in reality a 23-year-old Frenchman named Frederic Bourdin, a con artist extraordinaire. This is the point where you, dear reader, will be forgiven for also thinking, “What the fuck?”
Layton’s movie, utilizing dramatizations and interviews with actual participants in the bizarre saga, makes it clear that a hoax is afoot. But aside from the charismatic Bourdin, was anyone else in on the con? Something’s not right about the San Antonio family. And whatever became of the real Nicholas?
The Imposter chronicles two incredible stories — one about Bourdin and the other about the enigmatic Texans — that, through sheer coincidence, merged in Texas. If you think you know human nature, this movie will make you think again. Grade: A-
Director: Bart Layton Featuring: Frederic Bourdin, Carey Gibson, Bryan Gibson, Beverly Dollarhide, Nancy Fisher, Phillip French, Codey Gibson, Charlie Parker, Adam O’Brian Release: 2012
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