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Originally a 30 minute portion for an anthology film, Impostor was retooled into a full length feature film. Based on the Philip K. Dick short story of the same name, it follows the lead character Spencer Olham's quest to regain his identity after being suspected as an alien android, in an future Earth at war with aliens that use the androids as bombs to destroy their enemies homeworlds. Written by
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There wasn't always a war with the Centauri, but in my lifetime it's all I've ever known. By the year 2050, six years after the first attack, we'd lost so many things. We'd lost the sky to electromagnetic domes, to shield the Earth from frequent air raids increasing in intensity. We'd lost the uncovered cities that the government forgot. We'd lost democracy to global leadership. We didn't expect peace anymore with the Centauri, because we came to see that peace wasn't their goal. ...
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Impostor was the first of 2002's futuristic thrillers (the other two being Minority Report and the Equilibrium) and it's also easily the weakest, which is no surprise when you consider this is essentially nothing more than a blown-up short film. Not surprisingly, critics were harsh on this one, and while many of the complaints are valid, Impostor is still a bit better than its reputation.
The film's concept, that of a seemingly normal man accused of being a replicant, is a fascinating one, but it's unfortunately drowned by director Gary Fleder's obsession with shaky camera movements and quick cuts. The script, written by a committee (or at least a group of people who had a hand in it), suffers from too many logical flaws to fully work as the cerebral sci-fi it obviously aspires to be. Most importantly, the question of identity and what it means to be human is never fully addressed and only touched upon briefly.
But flawed as the film is, the cast is solid, with Sinise delivering yet again another terrific performance, and the special effects are actually convincing (the cityscapes are genuinely awe-inspiring). The movie's fast pace ensures it's never dull and there are even a few exciting action sequences (most notably the hospital fight/chase). But best of all is the climactic plot twist, a no-holds barred surprise that boosts the film up a notch. As a whole, the movie is mostly middling, but there are enough inspired moments to make this an enjoyable viewing.
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