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I, Psychopath (2009)

Sam Vaknin, a twice-diagnosed narcissist, travels across Europe with his wife, Lidija Rangelovska and the Australian documentary film director Ian Walker in search of a diagnosis: is he ... See full summary »

Director:

Ian Walker

Writer:

Ian Walker
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Cast

Credited cast:
Sam Vaknin Sam Vaknin ... Self
Lidija Rangelovska Lidija Rangelovska ... Lidija Rangelovska
Robert Hare Robert Hare ... Scientific Consultant
Natasha Mitchell Natasha Mitchell ... Science Narrator
Phoebe Plasto ... Chloe
Christine Kirkman Christine Kirkman ... Christine Kirkman
Niels Birbaumer Niels Birbaumer ... Niels Birbaumer
Adrian Raine Adrian Raine ... Adrian Raine
Angela S. Book Angela S. Book ... Angela S. Book
Belinda Board Belinda Board ... Belinda Board
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alexander James Alexander James ... Andrew
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Storyline

Sam Vaknin, a twice-diagnosed narcissist, travels across Europe with his wife, Lidija Rangelovska and the Australian documentary film director Ian Walker in search of a diagnosis: is he also a psychopath? Numerous tests latest - PCL-R and MRI included - the answer is a definite maybe. Written by Schmezl

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Can't trust the director
24 March 2010 | by ShemzlSee all my reviews

Sam Vaknin, the subject of this documentary, we are told, has a high IQ (185!!!), a sense of humor, an irresistible charm, a fake doctorate, and a submissive-codependent doll of a wife. I saw no sign of the first three. Sam is nothing short of loathsome, with a reptilian quality that would send shivers down any normal spine. He is a sadistic and robotically methodical verbal thug who exalts in his handiwork as he reduces everyone around him to stammering nervous wrecks. His wife, Lydia, is a tragic, heart-wrenching, truly lovable figure. What she sees in this physically and spiritually repulsive putrid shell of a human being is beyond me. The moments with her were the strongest in the movie and Walker made a bad call of not pivoting the film around her demure presence. I hope she doesn't get her wish and have kids with Vaknin. She and her children deserve far better.

But I harbor grave suspicions regarding the director of this "gem", Ian Walker. Clearly, there is no love lost between him and his protagonist, Vaknin. Equally clearly, we cannot trust him to be truthful and to avoid the kind of editing that borders on misleading the viewer.

Consider Sam's allegedly forged academic degree. Whatever his shortcomings and repugnant traits, Sam is brutally and unflinchingly and invariably and unfailingly honest about himself, his disorder, and what a monster he is. Why would he lie about an irrelevant and minor topic like his academic degree? Throughout the film and in its closing 2 minutes Sam protests that he had attended a full-fledged university with campus, faculty and students; that he had submitted a doctoral dissertation (indeed, it can be found in the Library of Congress!); and that he has had to defend it. Walker than plucks a sentence out of context and adds it artificially to Vaknin's previous protestations to create the (patently false!) impression that Vaknin admits to having a fake doctorate!!!

Or, consider this: Walker meticulously documents Vaknin's abusive raging outbursts. On many occasions, it is crystal-clear that Vaknin is reacting to off-camera taunting and ill-treatment by Walker. Walker even admits in his PR material to having "poked this snake with a stick". The film's logo is an image of Walker decapitating Vaknin! But Walker never shows us what he did to Vaknin - only what Vaknin did to him, ostensibly unprovoked. Walker uses clever, one-sided editing to achieve a highly unethical result: a misrepresentation of what happened, for sure!

This is what I mean when I say that I cannot trust the seethingly hateful, resentful, and envious Walker to be an impartial guide to Vaknin's circumstances, conduct, and psyche.

Shouldn't documentary filmmakers harbor at least a modicum of sympathy and compassion in order to avoid the voyeuristic pornography that most exposes become? Walker failed to skirt this particular trap. Hence 7 stars instead of 10.


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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 March 2010 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Ich bin ein Psychopath See more »

Filming Locations:

Skopje, Macedonia See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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