I recently saw The Imposter, which is a documentary film about Frédéric Bourdin, and specifically follows his attempt to impersonate a missing person.
The film itself was gripping, and throughout I wondered whether the people in the film were the real people portrayed or actors, and how the film had been put together. Something that really stood out was the testimony of Bourdin himself. His way of telling the story almost made me doubt that it was really him. Bourdin told the story with perceptible mischievousness throughout, which was very unsettling at times. The way the story was told with the participants’ testimony interleaved with the “action” sequences kept the tension high, and I found all of the speakers very engaging.
The reconstructed scenes were very well shot with plenty of atmosphere, and the occasional overlap with the voices of the people talking about the events made the two aspects of the film hand together very well. The most striking parts of the film were when Bourdin was quoting word-for-word the things he had said, while the drama sequences were being played out.
There is no doubt that the subject matter of the story was controversial, and this did make me uncomfortable at times. I felt that the film’s final scenes were over the top and far too dramatised. Other than that I thought that the film was very well made and well put together. As the family had clearly cooperated I hope that they don’t feel that the resulting film was exploitative, although some viewers did have this opinion. I can’t say that I would choose to go on screen and talk about similar experiences, but that is their choice after all.
Overally I thought that the film was of a very high quality, very well made and told a very compelling tale. I would recommend it to any fans of documentaries or drama, as I think it performs equally well on both counts.