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Tag: Erik Wilson

QuickView: The Imposter (2012)

“Before I was born, I definitely had the wrong identity. I already didn’t know — I was already prepared not to know who I really was.”

Frédéric Bourdin

Bart Layton’s arresting documentary features a story almost as bewildering as Abducted in Plain Sight, with an American family who welcomed in a 23-year-old French man impersonating their missing teenage child. What makes The Imposter so fascinating is the involvement of Frédéric Bourdin, who candidly explains both his actions and his thought process, something that typically requires a great deal of conjecture in similar true crime stories. However, the statements of a serial liar perhaps ought to be challenged more directly than Layton chooses to. Instead, the story is told largely from Bourdin’s perspective. The Imposter sets up an obvious mystery as to how Bourdin’s deception will ultimately be exposed, but it also manages to take a surprising turn in the last act, albeit with the nebulous ending that is now de rigeur for true crime.


QuickView: Paddington 2 (2017)

Paddington 2 quad poster

“Aunt Lucy said: if we’re kind and polite, the world will be right.”


With Paddington serving as an origin story for the Peruvian bear in London, its sequel is able to launch straight into a delightful adventure that will leave both children and adults beaming. If the original was an immigrant story, Paddington 2 highlights the importance ⁠— and difficulty ⁠— of maintaining contact with one’s roots. It is less dependent on Hugh Bonneville than its predecessor, with Hugh Grant hamming up a mercurial actor talking to himself in outlandish disguises, whilst Brendan Gleeson is the intimidating inmate that the diminutive bear must win over when wrongly incarcerated. Those prison scenes are some of the film’s best, showcasing Paddington’s charming openness as more than simple naiveté. The unrecognisably neighbourly version of London can be harder to swallow than a talking bear, but the film never dwells too long on its more saccharine elements. The style may be less fresh than last time, but there is still plenty of creativity on display like Paddington waltzing through the illustrations of a pop-up book. The rapid pacing also benefits from having most of the key characters already established, though it makes space for moments of quieter emotion and humour too. The result is simply the best live-action family adventure in years.


QuickView: Paddington (2014)

“Mrs Brown says that in London everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in. I think she must be right — because although I don’t look like anyone else, I really do feel at home.”


Ben Whishaw voices the marmalade-loving bear from darkest Peru with an adorable charm and naiveté that Colin Firth (previously considered for the role) would have struggled to bring. Paddington is a timely immigrant story about how we all benefit from embracing our differences. Much of this rests on Hugh Bonneville as Mr Brown, as he moves from initial mistrust to concern for his family to ultimate acceptance. The film is structured as a caper story culminating in an escape sequence with enjoyable nods for adult viewers to franchises like Indiana Jones and Mission Impossible. Of particular note is the surprising calypso soundtrack (the music of Notting Hill immigrants when Michael Bond wrote his books), with a band appearing around London to mirror Paddington’s mood.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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