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DVD Review: The Imposter

January 29, 2013

The Imposter DVD CoverThe Imposter – An Entertainment One Release

DVD Release Date: January 22nd, 2013

Rated 14A for coarse language and disturbing themes

Running time: 98 minutes

Bart Layton (dir.)

Anne Nikitin (music)

Carey Gibson as Herself

Beverly Dollarhide as Herself

Nancy Fisher as Herself

Charlie Parker as Himself

Our reviews below:


The Imposter DVD Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

When 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay disappeared from his Texas home in 1994, his family never stopped looking for him, even after it had been considered a cold case.  But in 1997, they got a shocking phone call saying that a teen boy had been found in Spain.  They welcomed the mysterious man back into their family, even though he looked older than sixteen and had different coloured eyes and hair.  When more details of the case started to be revealed, a disturbing layer to the mystery was slowly unravelled.

Even though The Imposter is a true story told through interviews and reenactments, it is a testament to the power of the filmmaking that we are held in constant suspense.  Directed by Bart Layton, the film plays as equal parts documentary and psychological thriller, as it reveals a fascinating true story that will leave you grasping for the truth amidst the obvious lies.  As more secrets are revealed, we don’t quite know who to trust, as The Imposter becomes a disturbing look at the search for a new identity and what people will choose to believe to stop themselves from accepting the truth.

The DVD includes a behind the scenes documentary that runs for just over forty minutes.


The Imposter DVD Review By Erin V.  

**** (out of 4)

In 1994 in San Antonio, Texas, a 13-year-old boy named Nicholas Barkley was reported missing.  After three years, his family was contacted by someone in Spain claiming to have found their son.  But when they brought Nicholas home, those around them started to get suspicious as the young man they’d brought home had some rather glaring differences – eye colour among them.

We know fairly early on in the film what is going on in this regard and why it is titled The Impostor, but the film takes many more twists and turns as it reaches another disturbing depth in its last act.  There is so much more to say about this film and the story it tells, but it deserves not to be told, but to be watched.

The film is told through interviews with key people – the family included – as well as some reenactments of a few events.  This style worked very well here, and what we are left with is a documentary that is stranger than fiction and hooks us in from opening to closing lines.


The Imposter DVD Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

Truth is stranger than fiction.  This is certainly the case with The Imposter, a bizarre true story of identity theft.  Back in 1994, a Texas family lost their 13-year-old boy, Nicholas Barclay.  Three years later, a scared looking young man was found in Spain.  The drifter wound up in a Spanish orphanage, claiming to be Nicholas.  When his family heard the news, they welcomed the imposter with open arms, even though he looked and sounded nothing like the real Nicholas.

The bizarre case leads from one lie to the next, yet the truth that comes out is chilling and shocking.  The Imposter is a brilliant, on the edge of your seat mystery thriller.  You couldn’t write something this good.  This is a definite must see, for both documentary and movies fan alike.


The Imposter DVD Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

When 13-year-old Texas boy Nicholas Barclay vanished without a trace, his family was understandably devastated.  Imagine their joy when a call came in from Southern Spain three years later, saying an American runaway had been found.  It was Nicholas, alive but traumatized.  His sister got on a plane and went to bring poor Nicholas home.  Nobody seemed disturbed by the fact that this young man had different coloured eyes, dyed blond hair and a thick French accent.

The Imposter is an incredibly chilling and thrilling documentary about this true and bizarre story.  The young Nicholas Barclay did disappear and a new Nicholas did return to Texas.  What unfolds is riveting.  The truth comes to light mainly thanks to the hard work of an old school private investigator named Charlie Parker who trusted his gut.

The story is told through well-edited reenactments and interviews with family members and various agency authorities.  The tension builds steadily throughout the film and leaves the viewer gasping in disbelief with each reveal.  The twists and turns are incredible.  If you don’t already know the story, resist looking it up on the internet before watching the film.

The Imposter is a well-told documentary that will appeal to anyone who loves a good mystery.


The Imposter DVD Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

The Imposter is the story of a man in Spain who claimed to be a 16-year-old Texas boy lost for three years. Despite his lack of resemblance to the boy, he was brought to Texas and taken in by the boy’s family. The true story revealed with the help of an FBI agent and relentless PI is really stranger than fiction and impossible to predict, so I have to be vague here, urging everyone to find out for themselves how things turn out.

The film is largely narrated with irresistible charm by the title character, along with comments from the authorities and key family members. Reenactments are seamlessly meshed with archival clips, but the actual people involved are shown wherever possible, unlike the recent film Bernie, also based on a bizarre Texas story, which used actors throughout. With all the elements of a good mystery assembled brilliantly by British director Bart Layton, The Imposter is not to be missed.


Consensus: Equal parts documentary and disturbing psychological thriller, director Bart Layton’s The Imposter is a masterful achievement in filmmaking that tells a fascinating true story filled with shocking twists.  **** (Out of 4)

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