Imperium movie full length review - Harry Potter Goes Jump Street?
Daniel Radcliffe plays an FBI agent infiltrating a white supremacist organization in Daniel Ragussis' debut feature.
An idealistic FBI agent, played by Daniel Radcliffe (Kill Your Darlings, Swiss Army Man) goes undercover to infiltrate a white supremacist group that's plotting an act of terror. Based on the real- life experiences of former FBI agent Michael German, the thriller opens with a new and nerdy agent Nate Foster (Radcliffe) getting assigned to go undercover in a neo-Nazi organization suspected of planning a dirty bomb terrorist attack. The organization's figurehead is Dallas Wolf, played by Tracy Letts (August: Osage County), a popular, hate-spouting radio talk show personality and author of Genocide: The Murder of White America.
Imperium wrings most of its suspense from its central character's efforts to convince the bad guys that he's indeed one of them. While the boyish Nate would seem an unlikely choice for such a dangerous assignment, the actor's lack of imposing physicality only increases the tension, with his character continually forced to rely on his wits and resourcefulness to evade detection. In one scene, Nate tries to prevent his fellow skinheads from physically harming a mixed-race couple. In another, he yells racial epithets to a black friend who spots him marching in a neo-Nazi parade. In this and other instances, Radcliffe conveys a fearful desperation that makes you fear for his character's safety.
Now this movie came out around the same time as another neo-Nazi thriller called Green Room. I love the film Green Room, however, I think I enjoyed this film just a tad more. The real standout in this film is Radcliffe. At first, he is a nerdy FBI agent, and then he transforms himself into a hateful, mean, and well-acted person. This is truly one of his best performances. Nate shaves his head and dives into white nationalist literature, learning all of the passwords and half-secret codes he needs to pass for a fellow traveler, and inventing attributes (a fake military past, a knowledge of chemistry) that would make him a particularly attractive recruit.
Once introduced into the scene, Nate encounters a range of distinct, tenuously collaborative groups. There are the skinheads, Aryan Brotherhood, led by an imposing, militaristic taskmaster, played by Chris Sullivan; the dorky Klansmen; and most arrestingly, a polite, clean-living, wealthy family man named Gerry , played by Sam Trammell whose extremist heart is concealed behind a seemingly reasonable, empathetic exterior. As knowledgeably sketched as these different groups are, director Ragussis leans a bit heavily on their own iconography in some early scenes, orchestrating montages of reactionary kitsch and propaganda that stall the film without revealing much about the characters.
The director really does an amazing job with character development in this movie. I thought it was a good idea from the director to show more of the people in these hateful organizations instead of the actual organizations. I do believe the ending could have been written a little better. The movie was so good and original, but the ending was very generic.
So these are my final B*tchin' Buddha thoughts on Imperium. A good crime, drama, and thriller for you to watch. I did not get bored once, and my eyes could not get off the screen. The acting is top notch from everyone, especially Radcliffe. It is an interesting story, well acted, and overall entertaining. I believe Imperium earns a?
9 out of 10!
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