This is one of the most bizarre, fucked up movies I've ever seen. The premise is absolutely bat shit, bone chilling... and it's mind blowing to realize it actually happened. That a guy could be that sociopathic and pathological. That a family could be that fucking naive and stupid...but it's Texas we're talking about. It's pretty awesome the approach the filmmakers take with this documentary, making it more of a docu-thriller, complete with 3rd act twist. It's a wholly unique experience and one of the best films of the year.
The Imposter 2012
I actually saw this on a really really bad date I had earlier this year! Going to have to echo your sentiments and say the movie portion of the date was well worth it. The story is so mind-blowing I was surprised it hadn't been turned into a movie until this year. My only complaint is that I could have done without some of the reenactments. It made some of the film feel like an episode of Unsolved Mysteries or something. Would've preferred that it was just a straight documentary.
Edit: Just realized this was probably the best film I saw in theaters this year and I totally forgot about it until seeing this thread. I never bother making top ten lists but if I did The Impostor would very likely be number one for whatever that's worth.
I'd argue that's what made it a unique experience.
Just saw this on Netflix right now, amazing film, I'm a bit surprise there hasn't been more discussion about it here.
I'll try not to spoil it much, but I'm thinking of watching the movie version (The Chameleon) about the central "character" in the documentary, but by ready the synopsis on wikipedia and the poor reviews, it sounds like the real story and what is shown in the documentary is 100x more compelling and interesting.
I know this was fantastic. When you think about all the shit that had to fall into place to allow the guy to get away with it for so long. I mean imagine if he had simply chosen another name at random? Also which family members know what is something im still thinking about. Obviously grandma and older brother knew but did his sister? Or was the thing with the photos really just her trying to show him his family that she thought she hadn't seen in years? Did the grandmother really confess the truth to him or was that another lie, I think she absolutely knew and he picked up on that but did she actually tell him?
Spoiler space ....
It's obvious the mother and the dead brother were involved, with the most likely scenario that the brother had a direct hand in his death. It could have been an accident, or something more deliberate we may never know.
The sister is a big mystery, however, just by going in what is shown in the documentary (which could be a bit manipulative), the thing with the pictures seems very suspicious. The Spain magistrates are shown in the movie to have told him to identify pictures he "had never seen before". If that's true, it's likely the sister said that to them, why would they say he hadn't seen the pictures otherwise?
Also, when the lady from the FBI warns the sister about him, she (and her mom) try to deny her account and the sister in particular claims she doesn't recall the FBI lady telling her her brother was likely an impostor and potentially dangerous. That's a bit of detail, you just can't ignore!
This movie is so fascinating, because Patrick is such a strange, creepy yet sort of charming human being. The guy is a natural born actor, with some very complex childhood issues ... but then when the movie turns into a potential murder mystery, WOW! The format is perfect too, a high quality documentary edited to perfection. I don't think a movie adaptation would have done this story any justice.
The end was driving me crazy, was the detective actually going to find the remains or not ... and it just ends like that.
Poor Nicholas, we may never find out exactly what happened to that kid.