The Imposter

The Imposter

Bart Layton (2012)

15 Certificate
Wednesday 10pm - 12:05am 4seven


Our Score
If this were fiction it might well stretch credibility to breaking point - but The Imposter is a documentary. In 1994, a 13-year-old named Nicholas Barclay went missing near his home in San Antonio, Texas. Three years later a young man in Spain claimed he was the missing teenager. Nicholas had blond hair and blue eyes; the man who turned up in Spain spoke with a French accent and had darker skin and brown eyes. In spite of these obvious differences he was accepted by the authorities and the boy's family - most of them, anyway. The trauma of his terrifying ordeal - involving kidnap, sexual slavery and a military conspiracy - was used to explain away other inconsistencies and memory lapses. However, after a few months the man's true identity was revealed: he was Frédéric Bourdin, a 23-year-old French-Algerian with a history of inventing new identities for himself. But that was by no means the end of a story that is in turn comic, bizarre and chilling. Director Bart Layton allows those involved to relate their version of events, though he also makes clever use of reconstruction and home-video footage: the result is that audience's perceptions are challenged as the film progresses. Many questions are raised, but not all of them are answered, in this extraordinary tale of deception and self-deception.


Bafta-winning documentary about the case of Nicholas Barclay, a 13-year-old boy who went missing, and the man who claimed to be the youngster years later, having apparently escaped being held captive. His radically different appearance and personality raised suspicion, but the child's family accepted him unquestioningly. Featuring contributions from the people involved in the case and filmed re-enactments of key events.

Cast & Crew

Director Bart Layton
Executive Producer Simon Chinn
Executive Producer John Battsek
Producer Dimitri Doganis

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Picturehouse / RevolverGuidance: SwearingAvailable on: DVD and Blu-ray