There's no reason THE IMPOSTER should work. It's an Errol Morris-style knockoff with the dreaded "America's Most Wanted" dramatic reenactments. There are more loose ends than in any given night aboard an RSVP cruise...yet...YET...I was riveted nonetheless.
The story of a sociopath who pretends to be the missing son of a Texas family, despite the fact that he's several years older, speaks with a French accent, and is clearly a different ethnicity, is really quite astounding. Before going in, I had one major question. How could they be so blind?
This gets answered fairly early in the process, and I was able to roll with it. For here's a story about loss and that very American need for a happy ending no matter the cost. The Texas family elicits great suspicion from the word "go". Despite their clear grief, we as viewers can't help but notice how, pardon the expression, janky this clan looks. Think the white neighbors in BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD only with a meth addiction instead of the moonshine they imbibed, and you'll get the picture. I'm not saying they ARE meth addicts, but I AM saying that they lack teeth, have gaunt complexions, and have those bugged-out eyes which either say, "Pity me" or "Can't you see the imaginary intruders breaking into my house behind me?"
The style in this film is an amalgamation of direct-to-camera interviews (ala Morris) and thrillingly shot reenactments. There's great beauty in these images. They're evocative of the great detective films of the 30s but with a hip wardrobe upgrade in the form of our antagonist. Call it Hoodie Noir.
Despite the truly compelling nature of this story, and man is there one great, jaw-dropping twist, THE IMPOSTER left me with a LOT of unanswered questions. Without spoiling anything, there are crucial incidents described in the film which could have used a little more digging on the part of the filmmakers. It would have been nice had he connected the dots a little more so that we could believe how certain events could have happened. Regardless, we get to peer into the eyes of an unabashed sociopath here, and that's pretty chilling stuff. A must-see despite its flaws.