The Imposter Bart Layton

The Imposter Bart Layton
6
Thirteen-year-old Nicholas Barclay went missing from San Antonio, TX in 1994. Three years later, the family was contacted by the police and told their son had been found in Spain, which led to a triumphant reuniting of the boy with his family. Only there was one serious problem: the now 16-year-old Nicholas was actually 23-year-old French con artist Frédéric Bourdin and the family didn't immediately notice. This unbelievable tale of deception and manipulation is examined in Bart Layton's The Imposter using first-person perspectives from all involved, including the imposter, in a series of talking head interviews. But rather than present the facts in a compelling exploratory manner, Layton utilizes overly dramatic re-enactments and ominous music to generate suspense, with the end result being an example of a documentary that caters to the short attention span of modern Western viewers. With such a strong story and a fascinating group of interview subjects, the film could have just as easily evolved organically without Layton's theatrical meddling and sensationalism. Fortunately, through all of his theatrics, he doesn't toy with the story, and the film manages to remain unbiased. All of the angles are covered and stories are told from the family and law enforcement involved, leading the spotlight to move from the conman to the family as more questions are uncovered and left unanswered. The Imposter is by no means a perfect documentary, but it is a compelling and entertaining viewing experience. Included on the DVD is a supplemental "Making of" documentary that looks at how Layton made the film, which mostly serves to toot his own horn. (eOne)