The Imposter is a 2012 documentary film directed by Bart Layton. It’s about the 1997 case of French Frederic Bourdin, who impersonated Nicholas Barclay, a Texas 13-year old boy who disappeared in 1994. The film has reenacted scenes including interviews with Frederic Bourdin and some members of the Barclay family, as well as real television news footage.
I hadn’t heard about this case before, so when I watched it, I couldn’t believe someone would prey upon a grieving family, not knowing whether their child is still alive or what had happened to him. It’s a pretty messed up story and yet an incredible one.
From seeing the trailer, I wasn’t so sure about watching this. It seemed dark and negative, like those TV series telling real-life stories about missing people or murders. Stuff that I don’t enjoy watching. With that in mind, I gave this film 20 minutes to change my mind, and it did. I was hooked to find out more about how this imposter would go about moving to the US with this family, with no strategy or plan. The opportunity for him was there and he went for it. At that point it was to see how much longer he could pull it off. The film is excellently edited and executed, with great camera takes and close-ups. It has that sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller effect and the ending has you really wondering if what Frederic said were all lies. Were the things he said about the Barclay family and about Nicholas true?
It is definitely an excellent thriller of a documentary film and a very entertaining 1hr and 38mins!
Thanks for reading my review!
– Nick Andersen