Written by Films

The Imposter

I went to see the new documentary, The Imposter at the weekend. All I’ll say here is that it’s very good, and tells the story of a child who goes missing in Texas in the 90s, but who then seemingly shows up in Spain a few years later.
It’s not worth me saying much more than that except that it’s true, and it’s well put together with neatly dramatised scenes, and extensive interviews with most of those involved.
It’s much better if you go into the film knowing as little as possible. I didn’t, and it does take a fascinating direction.
I saw the film at a multiplex, and as regular readers might know, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with multiplexes. I was thinking about this because someone’s rant at Odeon cinemas has gone viral and it probably fairly accurately reflects cinema going experiences today.
Things are changing – some for the better and some for the worse. For example, Cineworld’s recent scrapping of online booking fees, and in fact giving you a discount if you book online is an excellent move. Let’s face it, they employ fewer staff and therefore have reduced overheads if I buy tickets online and cut out the human being.
On the downside, that means fewer staff in cinemas, and invariably they now double selling food and drink as well as tickets at the concession stands. If you’re behind a family of five, that can take a lot longer to serve unless they’re just buying tickets.
But I will say that the staff can be good (they can also be bad). As I queued to buy an overpriced bottle of water (I know I should have brought my own, but then I also know that the film’s distributor takes the vast proportion of my ticket price, so the cinema relies on concessions to make any money at all), the woman in front of me was having an argument with the guy at the till. He’d called a manager over, but the gist was that they wouldn’t let the woman’s daughter in to see the 15 rated film that she was trying to buy tickets for.
The girl did look incredibly young. I’d have guessed she was 12 if asked. The mother was huffing and moaning. She said the girl had just sat her GCSEs and that this was “unbelievable”. The girl had no ID on her, and the cinema wasn’t budging on its position.
I’ve got to say that I thought they handled it very well, and were acting completely responsibly.
The mother, on the other hand was saying that she was a “f***ing responsible mother,” which tended to suggest to me that she was undermining her own argument.
However they had a solution. If there was someone at home who could text a picture of her passport, they’d let her in. There was indeed someone at home and the daughter got on the case getting that person to MMS/email a photo to her smartphone. Ten minutes later I saw the pair of them troop into my screen.
A good solution all round I felt.
On the other hand, I’m now more certain than ever that “unlimited” cards are really bad.
On the surface they’re excellent in terms of value for money. And if I didn’t tend towards the “hate” end of a love/hate relationship with my local multiplex, perhaps I’d buy one. But the problem is they encourage kids.
Take The Imposter. This is a documentary film. There’s no action. It’s intelligent. You have to pay attention. However there are clearly groups of teenagers with these “unlimited” cards who go to see anything that’s on. Particularly deep into the summer holidays. And if they don’t like it, they don’t leave, they just talk to their mates and text friends.
And so, I found myself twice during the film asking them to stop talking or get off their phones – one of them was having a conversation.
And it’s that kind of behaviour and those kinds of things that make me think twice about seeing a film in the cinema, and instead just waiting for the DVD or for it to arrive on TV.
Anyway, go and see The Imposter, ideally without disinterested teenagers killing time at the end of the summer holidays.