Here’s the scene: FBI agent Nate Foster is at home, preparing
for an undercover mission. In order to infiltrate a gang of suspected
white-supremacist terrorists, he’s got to shave his head; in order to fulfil
the mandate of this kind of movie, he’s got to shave his head while standing in
front of a big mirror, frowning at his own face, wondering what kind of monster
he’s about to become.
Watching this, it’s immediately apparent that Imperium isn’t going to be the kind of
journey-into-the-depths-of-one-man’s-soul as claimed by this scene: it’s going
to be a deliciously cliff-hanging nail-biting seat-gripping thriller with only occasional
hat-tips to psychological anguish. You can go home and watch Tarkovsky’s Stalker if you want magisterial
ponderousness. Everyone else: go large with the popcorn.
Foster is persuaded to become an inside man by fellow agent
Angela (Toni Collette, acting with wig and chewing gum), and insinuates himself
into the neo-Nazi inner-circle. He gets an iron-cross tattoo, he shouts racist
slurs, and he swots up on Zionist conspiracy lore. Every so often he gets
something slightly wrong – he’s wearing Levis! Jew jeans! – and one of the supremacists makes a ‘…hang on a minute!’ face.
The tension is two-fold. The audience frets: can Nate Foster
convince the Nazis that he’s one of them? But also: can Daniel Radcliffe convince
us that he’s a real actor? Spoiler alert: with Imperium, Radcliffe continues to put together a catalogue of very
interesting performances that might only be appreciated by audiences of some
distant future, audiences to whom the Harry Potter films seem as unexceptional
and campy as Dragonheart seems now;
audiences, basically, who don’t automatically project a lightning-shaped scar
onto Radcliffe’s forehead.
Now, at least, they might see a swastika there too. That
should make things interesting.
|What||Imperium film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
23 Sep 16 – 23 Nov 16, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|