By Don Simpson | March 7, 2012
Director: Bart Layton
Bart Layton’s The Imposter utilizes present day interviews and dramatized recreations in an attempt to piece together the story of a 13-year-old boy who disappeared from San Antonio, Texas in 1994. Years later the boy suspiciously turns up in a telephone booth in a small village in southern Spain. After remaining silent, the boy tells a very ambiguously spun tale of being kidnapped and tortured. The authorities (in both Spain and the United States) get so caught up in the desire to return the boy to his family that they overlook the basic facts that this boy is actually a man who speaks with a French accent and his hair and eye colors do not match the descriptions of the missing boy. Even more oddly, the boy’s family does not appear to take notice of these facts either; they accept the boy as their own, welcoming him into their fold. A lone San Antonio-based private investigator stumbles his way into the case and starts asking questions; a mystery that seems too absurd to be true begins to unravel.
Layton’s documentary borrows heavily from Errol Morris’ truth-is-stranger-than-fiction filmmaking style and this true crime documentary has more unsuspecting twists and turns than most Hollywood thrillers. If The Imposter was categorized as a fiction film, no one would believe that it was based on facts. Other than its heavy-handed presentation, The Imposter‘s other main “fault” is that it poses exponentially more questions than it is ever able to answer, which might be frustrating for some audiences. Nonetheless, there is no denying that the story is extremely entertaining and incredibly weird.