Weekly Reviews: The Imposter, Nowhere Boy and I, Daniel Blake

The Imposter – Bart Layton

Watch this film if you are a DIRECTOR
Mood of the film : Intense
Originality/Creativity 8/10
Direction 10/10
Writing 8/10
Cinematography 8/10
Performances 9/10
Structure 9/10
Overall Score 9/10

The Imposter focuses on the 1997 case of identity fraud committed by Frédéric “The Chameleon” Bourdin, now known for having assumed over 500 false identities. In this case, however, he didn’t just create a new identity but took one from a missing kid from San Antonio, TX. The Imposter tells the story of this man, the family he convinced to take him in and the people who worked to expose the truth. In a rare case, the film is mainly told through interviews with everyone involved. Dramatic reenactments only serve to bridge the few gaps that exist between powerful testimonies.

When filming a documentary, it’s important to make sure you’re the one telling the story and you’re not simply letting the story tell itself. Let me assure you, it was impossible to avoid making that sound like a line from a self-help book. Still, it’s good advice. The days when a documentary could just state all its story and intentions in the first five minutes have passed. And good riddance! It was boring for the audiences and lazy storytelling.

Of course, it’s very rare to find someone as cocky, unapologetic and emotionally removed as Frédéric Bourdin. Outside of a sad smile or two, there is no remorse shown but unlike with other similar films, there’s never the sense that this is a forced construction by the filmmaker. Bourdin is happy to relive these memories and switch between the roles of sympathetic vagabond and deranged sociopath as it suits the film. He does not care about coming across as the good guy, which makes him a fascinating subject to watch.

Without giving too much away, it’s important to note that Layton plays with his cards to his chest. The story is far more than just a Frédéric Bourdin biopic, it’s a tale about the power of lying and how easy it can be to fool people. Layton crafts an almost perfect documentary for the modern age; incredibly cinematic and perfectly laid out with twists and reveals that keep the story edge-of-your-seat gripping. The way in which it lulls you in with its twists, however, is incredibly subtle and clever. It’s a testament to the fact that you don’t need to smother your audience with foreshadowing, you just need to have planted a seed of doubt into their minds.

Nowhere Boy – Sam Taylor-Johnson

Watch this film if you are a WRITER
Mood of the film : Nostalgic
Originality/Creativity 7/10
Direction 7/10
Writing 8/10
Cinematography 7/10
Performances 8/10
Structure 7/10
Overall Score 7/10

Based on the life of Beatles founder John Lennon, Sam Taylor-Johnson’s directorial debut, Nowhere Boy, presents a new and unexplored side to the the iconic musician. Structured around his teen years, the film showcases his sensitive relationship with his estranged mother, Julia, a sympathetic, and passionate woman, who gave him away to her comparatively more coherent, and rational sister, Mimi.

A tender, nostalgic, and sometimes hard-hitting depiction of one of the music industries most adored icons, Nowhere Boy is humble and unpretentious, brought to life by strong and emotive performances, as well as an authentic representation of time and setting.

Comprised of themes surrounding family, friends, and love, the biopic is a tender and sentimental portrait of the adored artist as a young boy, that will really get a hold of you.

I, Daniel Blake – Ken Loach

Watch this film if you are a DIRECTOR/ACTOR
Mood of the film : Eye opening and intense
Originality/Creativity 10/10
Direction 10/10
Writing 8/10
Cinematography 8/10
Performances 10/10
Structure 9/10
Overall Score 9/10

I, Daniel Blake is a heartwarming, raw and hard hitting film tackling issues which are rarely seen on screen.

Blake suffers from a heart attack and is informed that he should no longer work by his doctor. Unable to work, he seeks help to pay for his low-rent Newcastle housing unit, but is met with nothing but computer screens and scripted workers when attempting to seek this help. We watch him be continually belittled and shut down by the system, growing frustrated with him.

However the film is not all a bleak outlook on the society we live in. Loach introduces a friend, Katie, for Blake, a young single mum also seeking support from the welfare system. We follow their struggles, but also see their honest support, friendship, and unification against the system. These scenes provide the audience with glimpses of hope in a raw reality shock of a film.

I, Daniel Blake is an important and crucial film to watch, as it leads you to question your misconceptions of people like Daniel and Katie and the system that we are living in. Loach also came out retirement to make this film, showing the importance of I, Daniel Blake’s message to his audience.