The Imposter

Director: Bart Layton
Year Released: 2012
Rating: 3.5

From the Truth-Is-Way-Stranger-Than-Fiction Realm comes this real-life (!?) story about a family from Texas whose son (Nicholas Barklay) goes "missing" only to have "him" show up years later in Spain (!?) ... only it's not actually him, it's a professional impersonator/con man named Frédéric Bourdin who claims to be Nicholas Barclay ... and yet the family actually wills themselves to believe him! Completely fascinating as a multi-faceted depiction of human psychology - not simply from Bourdin's sociopathic perspective but also from the members of Nicholas' family, who seem to have been (actively) engaging in some kind of elaborate form of denial/self-deception. I could quibble about the overly-dramatic recreations - and about Layton's apparent coaching of his presenters - but his subject matter is simply too intricate (and downright absurd) - and his pacing of the story too precise - to make anything but a solid documentary. Seeing Bourdin recount his own story and go through his thought process is a scary peek into how a sociopath manipulates and uses people - he's said in recent years he vowed to never impersonate anyone again, but with people with tweaked personalities, history does tend to repeat itself....