Bart Layton

The Imposter Movie 2012

Editor’s note: With The Imposter hitting limited theaters this week, here is a re-run of our SXSW review, originally published on March 13, 2012. Sometime around the halfway mark of Bart Layton‘s The Imposter, I became aware of the fact that I was watching the movie with my eyes wide as saucers. Even with a strong grasp of the film’s subject matter, it’s hard not to be totally blown away by what plays out on-screen, to become gape-mouthed in the face of so much (hyperbole aside) insanity. Much like Sundance favorite Compliance, the film focuses on the extreme limits of human fallibility and a true story that is so exceedingly unbelievable that it feels like it cannot possibly be true – but it is. In 1994, a thirteen-year-old boy named Nicholas Barclay disappeared while on his way home from playing with his friends in San Antonio, Texas. Three years later, a French con artist named Frédéric Bourdin placed a prank phone call to the police in a small Spanish town, claiming to be a man who had found an American child who had been abducted. When the police arrived, it was Frédéric Bourdin who huddled in the phone booth, clad in oversized clothing and a baseball cap pulled low. Bourdin was taken to an orphanage, where he went about constructing a lie so fantastic and revolting that only the most cunning of con artists and the most deviant of human beings would even consider it for a moment.

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The Imposter Movie 2012

Bart Layton‘s documentary The Imposter was warmly welcomed at SXSW (and other fests) for its icy shudder-inducing premise. It’s about…a person…but to describe that person would undercut the effectiveness of this insanely well-cut trailer. For now, know that it’s about a kidnapped boy, an emotionally demolished family, and a piece of miraculous news from across the Atlantic Ocean. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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