Imperium Review

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By Will Barber Taylor

Bookish and straight-laced FBI agent Nate Foster ‘s (Daniel Radcliffe) world is turned upside down when his boss (Toni Collette) pushes him to go undercover to infiltrate a white supremacist group suspected of planning a major terrorist attack.

The dangerous assignment requires Foster to transform himself inside and out in order to ingratiate himself with a number of radical neo-Nazi groups, his life depends on his ability to trick them into believing he’s the dedicated skinhead he is posing as. The deeper his involvement and the closer he gets to discovering the truth, the more perilous the consequences will be if he is exposed.

Inspired by real events, director Daniel Ragussis presents a gripping thriller starring Daniel Radcliffe and Toni Collette.

Set against the backdrop of the white supremacist movement, Imperium is a film that is savagely current. With racial tensions in American higher than they have been for some time, Imperium hits the perfect note in showing the dangers of white supremacy, isolationism and forgetting the internal threat to American security.

The film begins with Nate Foster playing a vital role in the capture of a suspected Islamic terrorist. During the interrogation Foster begins to feel frustrated that he isn’t getting anywhere. However, when his boss Angela Zamparo (Toni Collette) offers Foster the opportunity to look into the white supremacist movement that the FBI are ignoring in favour of Islamic terrorist, he jumps at it. From this point on the film shows Foster’s slow integration into the movement, displaying the fascinating internal struggle between appearing to be a neo Nazi and keeping his own inner self intact.

It is this dichotomy which lies at the heart of the film; can Nate hide his true feelings and his intentions from the people he is trying to convince of his validity?  Daniel Ragussis structures the film perfectly for this purpose; there are several moments when it looks as if Nate will be found out and there is uncertainty as to whether he will end up facing a horrible fate. The film plays like clockwork, slowly building up pressure the deeper Nate goes into the movement. Ragussis perfectly films Imperium with scenes such as Nate’s get away from the breaking up of a racist rally that are stunningly realistic and heart pounding.

Daniel Radcliffe’s performance in Imperium is breath-taking. From the somewhat nerdy, insular Foster we see at the beginning of the film through to his deception as the hardened racist onto his final transition of the veteran FBI agent, Radcliffe never fails to impress. Radcliffe’s intensity in the role is mesmerising. He fully becomes Foster; his nervous ticks and constant awareness of his surroundings are pitch perfect for the part. Upon assuming the mantle of his thuggish persona, Radcliffe excels as a calming influence on his targets. He stops them from going on to greater acts of violence and convincing them that they need him because of his intelligence and his charisma. Foster is without doubt Radcliffe’s best role to date as it shows off his incredible talent to a remarkable degree.

Imperium is a bold and thought provoking film that sets out perfectly the world of white supremacists and clearly demonstrates the thought process of these monsters. It is without doubt the best film of 2016 so far and perhaps sums up the year; chilling, horrifying but not without hope that evil can be overcome.

You can purchase Imperium direct from We Are Colony here. 

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