Impostor (2001) Poster

(2001)

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8/10
Quite superb... captures PKD's visions well.
shanfloyd13 February 2006
I have no idea why this movie is such underrated. Yes, Gary Fleder is no Steven Spielberg or Ridley Scott. He doesn't have the excellent imagery or visual wonders of the other directors' films. But at the same time, he has been more faithful to the original short story than Scott or Spielberg could have been. He has added only one major twist which made the film rather more interesting. And one major credit of the film is that it could capture quite obviously the feel of paranoia that's been the mainstay of Philip Dick's most stories.

Gary Sinise is always pleasure to watch on screen. And in this case his performance is flawless. D'Onofrio plays the tough security officer with enough passion. Madeline Stowe is rather frigid in her role.

In short, 'Impostor' is a gripping tale with solid plot and enough substance. A must see for every genre fan, regardless of the fact that one of the greatest sci-fi writer has penned the story.
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9/10
"Those who deny the existence of robots may themselves BE robots..."
kdm04226 October 2002
The previously posted comment for this film would have successfully steered me away from it... If I weren't such a huge fan of "Criminal Intent" (Vincent D'Onofrio) and "Monk" (Tony Shalhoub) that I had to see it anyway.

I wondered throughout the movie, "Is this guy (Gary Sinise) a robot or NOT???" The sets and direction (not to mention the performances of Gary Sinise and Vincent D'Onofrio, which were intense) sucked me in. D'Onofrio makes a fabulous driven investigator. Shalhoub's role was small, but I was too busy grooving on the plot to care. My one regret in the performances is that Madeline Stowe didn't have much to do, except alternate between the roles of a stereotypical uber-doctor and a limpid, grieving wife. The one scene that hints at her acting talent occurs when she confronts her husband at the abandoned park.

Granted, the film does start out like it's going to be typical sci-fi schlock, but once it was past the first 15 minutes, I almost forgot it's science fiction.

The bottom line: This movie WORKED for me! 9 / 10 stars
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7/10
Superior Sci-fi Film
BB-1513 January 2003
Like Total Recall, Impostor was based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick. (Dick's stories were also the inspiration for Blade Runner and Minority Report.) In my opinion Impostor is a solid science fiction film.

The core of these stories by Dick has to do with the nature of reality and Impostor is no exception. If we have memories implanted in our minds, how can we tell what is real and what is an artificial memory? Added to this in the movie is the change in a society that comes from years of war. Can we have freedom and human rights when anyone can be a spy? This combines two great traditions in sci-fi; illusion vs. reality (Total Recall) meets taking over our minds and bodies by an alien power (Invasion of the Body Snatchers).

Add to the great story concepts is superior acting by Gary Sinise and Madeleine Stowe. The supporting cast is good with Vincent D'Onofrio playing a complex character. Is he a villain? Nothing is as it seems.

With all of these positive comments, I cannot give the film a 10/10. This is a low budget film which first started as a short film and grew into a feature. While the story of Impostor IMHO is superior in some ways to Minority Report and much better than typical sci-fi, the lack of money for Impostor shows.

The director, Gary Fleder is no Speilberg, Ridley Scott or even Paul Verhoeven. Sometimes the pace of the film seemed to need tighter editing. The script in the central part of the film could have used more work to learn more about this world. And the music was just ok in supporting the action and emotion of the film.

Still Miramax was right to decide on making this a feature film rather than a short subject or straight to TV film. Impostor has some great sci-fi story ideas and good performances. 8.5/10
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9/10
Philip K. Dick would like this movie
gracie2826 June 2004
This movie has gotten a bad rap mostly from folks who just didn't get it. Of all the movies based on Philip K Dick stories, this one actually is most true to the plot line. And as a fan of Philip K Dick I give this movie a lot of credit for that. He visualizes a dark, grim future world at war with aliens and the fear and confusion that comes from the impostor accusations. The movie reflects that very well. They did add some material just to make it a full length feature flick, since the original literary work is a short story. Sinise is excellent, Stowe is pretty and sensual as usual and D'Onofrio is over the top , as usual. A good cast, good photography and an interesting set design. I give the movie high marks, and recommend it especially to any fans of Philip K Dick.
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Better Than I Would Have Thought.
BigHardcoreRed21 May 2005
Impostor is a Sci-Fi movie mixed with some elements of action & mystery. This was better than I thought it would be. I even put off watching it for awhile because I did not have very high hopes for it, but it turned out pretty decent.

Gary Sinise plays Spencer Olham, a doctor along with his wife, Maya, played by Madeleine Stowe. Spencer wakes up and goes to work the next morning to find that he is a wanted man. It appears that the military and the U.S. Defense department think that he is actually a cyborg with a bomb placed in it's heart, with a mission to kill the Chancellor! Pretty far out stuff. The visuals explaining this were pretty cool, too.

Spencer manages to escape but always has the military hot on his trail. This is where the mystery comes in. The viewer is forced to wonder whether or not Spencer is actually himself, or the cyborg programmed to be Spencer. The movie does an excellent job of placing doubt in the minds of those watching, no matter which way they are leaning. If they think Spencer is really himself, it still makes you wonder. Major Hathaway, played by Vincent D'Onofrio, claims that the cyborg is merely programmed to act human, as if it really wants to live.

The special effects here are pretty good as well. At the beginning, I thought we would have another Starship Troopers (visually) on our hands. Since the story takes place in the year 2079, it would not be a good science fiction without the cool household gadgets and such. We see plenty of that here, especially in the beginning. Parts of the movie reminded me of I, Robot, Demolition Man and at times, even Star Wars. This comes recommended for science fiction fans.
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7/10
Much better than Minority Report...
kdmagnusson5 October 2003
I was surprised to see that IMDB users had rated this movie as low as they did. This movie really exemplifies the paranoia that is typical of the works of Philip K. Dick much better than the more expensive and more widely-seen "Minority Report". As much as that movie had going for it (great visuals and action, leavened by the right amount of humor), it let the viewer off the hook at the end by resolving the story with a tidy, happy, feel-good ending. "Impostor" is a much lower budget film and very grim but remains true to its Phildickian origin throughout, with the plot unfolding layer by layer until the end, which is both shocking and inevitable. It's the kind of stuff great "Twilight Zone" episodes were made of.
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9/10
very,solid,well done sci/fi entry(one of the best i have seen so far)
disdressed1216 April 2007
this is a terrific,well acted movie.it has plenty of action,a very good storyline and is also realistic.it asks many questions and leaves the viewer to answer most of them.i was drawn into this movie right from the beginning until the very end.there are some great,and unexpected (for me,anyway)plot twists.the ending i thought was brilliant.i felt the writers really captured the look and feel of a futuristic earth at war with the enemy.i also liked the fact that you never really know who the enemy is,until the very end.even then,i wasn't sure.if you are looking to be entertained,you should give this movie a try.if you like compelling and thought provoking action and drama,you should also give this movie a try.this movie has some intelligence behind it,which many movies today are sorely lacking.this is one of the best movies of the Sci/Fi genre i have seen to date. i wouldn't call it a masterpiece,but it is a very solid,well done film.My vote for "Imposter" is 9/10
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Not great, but not bad, either.
Li-122 December 2002
5.5 out of 10

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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Skip the full length movie; watch the short version!
norockets31 March 2004
I watched the feature length "director's cut", then viewed the 37 minute short version on the dvd. The short film is much better! It's more faithful to the PKD story and captures the theme of identity and illusion vs reality more concisely. It's essentially the beginning and ending of the feature w/additional scenes that flesh out the characters. The short makes Olham a little more contradictory - he tells his wife that his project is a good thing, then he questions what he's doing with his friend at the Project. What's missing is the interminable chase that's been done better in innumerable films (see The Running Man for example). Vincent D'Onofrio is a particularly good villain who's not really a villain (or is he?)......................
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Know Thyself
mendelson771 November 2009
It's a race against time, and my time is running out. I know who I am, but nobody believes me. And if I can't prove my innocence, my identity, then I lose. The game is over, and my life will mean nothing. Is this how I will end? Will all that be left behind be an empty shell, an echo of me? Is this how it will all end?

Impostor is a heart-pounding, adrenaline rush of one man's race to prove his identity and to save his life. His race against time will bring him close to his would-be captor, but his enemies are closer than you think. And nothing is what it seems, and through the talented Mr.Gary Sinise , we are carried forth in the struggle of one man to survive the impossible. And with every twist and turn in a brilliantly written story, our breaths are held, and we are captivated by a chilling ending. Do we really know who we are, and do we believe ourselves when we say, "It's me. It's me."
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10/10
An excellent Adaptation of a P.K. Dick story
JoeB1317 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The late Philip K. Dick has been the source of inspiration for many movies in the last 25 years, although most of them are only loosely based on his fine work.

This film is based on Dick's story, "The Imposter", and they've managed to expand out a 20 page story in a 90 minute movie, mostly just by adding in chase scenes. Still, the movie is fairly faithful to Dick's original work, with essentially the same ending. (Although in the novel, the U-bomb was capable of destroying the entire earth and did.) The basic concept of "If I'm not me, then who am I?" comes through pretty effectively here. Gary Sinese and Vincent D'Nofrio come off well in their roles. Madelene Stowe and Tony Shaloub have good supporting roles. (Funny that three of the principal actors have gone on to detective shows.)
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"Do you know when my dog pleases me most? When he displays human qualities"
tieman6411 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Philip K. Dick wrote "Impostor" in 1953, a short story about Spencer Olham, an android who naively believes himself to be a human being. Like many of Dick's tales, it allegorically portrays humans as machines who do not know, or do not accept, that human behaviour (and concepts of self-hood, personality and "free will") is itself mechanistically programmed by external, causal chains. For Dick, man is always a robot in denial; an impostor.

Directed by Gary Fleder, "Impostor" was adapted for the screen in 2001. It stars Gary Sinise as Olham, and sticks fairly faithfully to Dick's short story. Differences include the insertion of several dull action sequences, and an attempt to flesh out the broader society (militaristic, paranoid and almost totalitarian) in which Olham lives. Hampered by budget constraints and poor direction, this society never feels anything more than cheap, phony and hokey.

Incidentally, Fleder's "Impostor" was originally a 30 minute short film intended to be released as part of a larger anthology. Possibly attempting to steal thunder from Steven Spielberg's upcoming Philip K. Dick movie, "Minority Report", it was quickly retooled and turned into a feature length picture. As a result, most of its running time feels like unnecessary padding.

6/10 – Worth one viewing.
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3/10
inferior sci-fi
SnoopyStyle20 May 2016
In the future Earth, Spencer (Gary Sinise) and Maya Olham (Madeleine Stowe) are a professional couple. He's a top secret weapons designer. She's a doctor at the hospital. Earth is at war with yet unseen aliens from Alpha Centauri. Force shield domes protect the cities from the Centaurians. As Spencer is walking with friend Nelson Gittes (Tony Shalhoub), Major Hathaway (Vincent D'Onofrio) takes him captive. Three days earlier, intelligence intercepted a Centauri transmission with a target list. Spencer is suspected of being a perfect replicant of the real Spencer with an undetectable U-bomb in his chest. Hathaway claims that there is no way to distinguish the difference but Spencer declares that there is a medical test. Before Hathaway can do his terminal test, Spencer manages to escape. Bandit Cale (Mekhi Phifer) makes the fugitive his prisoner.

The premise is not the most logical. It seems like a convoluted way for the aliens to deliver the weapon. There are much better ways to give this premise a twist. Outside of this, the movie is a lackluster futuristic Fugitive. It's a dark cheap unimaginative world. By the time Cale shows up, I got bored with the whole enterprise. The ending simply puts a cherry on this bland sundae.
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Interesting.....
PlanecrazyIkarus9 September 2002
The story: Waking up one morning, a top scientist and weapons designer finds himself accused of being a replicant / cyborg impostor, planted by aliens in order to assassinate the leader (i.e. dictator?) of earth. To quote Tom Cruise in the competing movie Minority Report: "Everybody Runs", and so he escapes, trying to prove his innocence / identity.

I was expecting this movie to be quite boring, either too confusing or too Hollywoodised to be enjoyable. Still I rented it on the off chance that they might have made a good sci-fi movie without anyone noticing. And I was actually quite surprised: I did enjoy the movie. I have to admit, I spent a lot of time speculating about the outcome, as there were many hints in the movie, and I became quite interested whether the script would follow through with them or leave them as plotholes. The movie is thrilling (I kinda like "Man on the Run" movies) and has some fun, but not too clever or revolutionary, setpieces. The world the movie is set in is quite acceptable, mixing many of P K Dick movie gimmicks (hover-cars from Blade Runner, personal identification similar to Minority Report, an Orwellian government presence similar to Total Recall).

By the time the movie reaches its climactic finale, I was very thrilled and also very excited. The ending was just perfect, exactly what I wanted it to be. So while I doubt whether the movie will be great on repeat viewings, it definitely is worth seeing. It does not quite fit into the usual Hollywood scheme of things and had a tough time, being released in the same year as Minority Report, but to me it definitely wasn't inferior to that much anticipated and overhyped movie...

One warning though: Near the start, there is a particularly gruesome and gory scene that fully deserves an 18-rating in my opinion, instead of the 15 rating the movie received. I feel the movie could have done without showing it quite as explicitly - in fact, the horror of just watching actor's faces without seeing the actual projection might have been much more effective and elegant.

7/10
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6/10
Fun to watch, but don't think too hard
WatchedAllMovies1 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
If you like movies like total recall, you may like this movie.

It is exciting to watch. However, when I think about it afterward, there are many things that are lame.

For example, if a robot were to take over a human, why would it program itself to the point it doesn't know itself is a robot, and therefore can't carry out its mission in an efficient manner? Also, the movie showed a video clip of a previous robot being drilled. Why wasn't the robot programmed to explode when drilled? Why would the robot leave dead human bodies to be discovered in such obvious place? If they are as advanced as the human say they are, they ought to have a better way to get rid of a dead body.

If the aliens want to assassin someone, once they get past the shield, they could just send a smart guided bomb, why bother with the robot thing?
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10/10
Don't miss this movie!
dissin17 July 2003
This movie surprised me, it was far better than what I was expecting, seeing as I believed the critics and chose not to see it at the theatres based on that. I won't be listening to critics anymore! I wish I had seen it at the theatres now, and supported it. More science fiction as well done as this film should be made, considering far worse movies, make far more money.

The special effects were 1st rate, locations, cinematography, acting, all very, very good. The story was compelling, lots of action and kept you guessing the entire movie, right up until the very end!

Very well done, I recommend this flick to ALL sci-fi fans, don't miss it!
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Soiled Dickey
tedg15 January 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Dick's stories are something good, but not quite cinematic like those of others. His type of writing has three elements:

--The creation and presentation of a new world. Dick's world is advanced but in inhuman ways so that the balancing goodness is driven inwards into the hero(s). Technology, government, mindless evil converge.

--The notion of constructed humanity, or human constructions within this context

These two notions are deliberately opposed which is why Kubrick and Scott were so attracted: it literally set the stage for visual ambiguities and tension.

The third, but only in the stories, was a twist -- a Rod Serling clever surprise.

This film is apt but bad.

The aptness comes from Dick's own personality: he didn't polish his stories. The rawness was a deliberate effect. He would have wanted a raw film as well, not a glossy, even oily rendition like Spielberg's `A.I.' He would have wanted rough editing and cheesy acting like Scott and Harrison delivered in `Bladerunner.' And he would also have wanted the crappy production values we see here. But about a third as long. The point is that in this respect at least, bad is good.

The misfits come from the failure to deliver the sort of oppressive world he had in mind. This looks more like `Logan's Run.' `Brazil' or `12 Monkeys' would be more right. And finally, the twist. After a few hundred Twilight Zone episodes you would think we would know how to pull off this zinger without broadcasting it. Here bad and bad are just bad.

There are two huge missed opportunities to reference other films, which is certainly something Dick would do:

1) Lots of films now are playing with the notion of what is real and whether the film can be trusted. The two `Blair Witch' films are the most seen that deal with this, but many others do too, like the notable `Shadow of the Vampire.' The padding here is largely in the `hallucinations' he has. Would have added a lot if that spilled into the narrative we see, so that we couldn't trust our own eyes.

2) `A Beautiful Mind' is the hot film right now. Missing from that film is the real interesting fact that Nash's delusions were largely shaped by Dick. Given Nash's superhuman power to convince (to invent reality), we well might have had a future where mathematics had in inherent mystical paranoia. Since this movie was a tossaway in the first place, they could have partnered it with `Mind' as Nash's actual delusions. Now that would have been cool, and apt. Real science fiction in the Dick tradition, not Star Trek-quality stuff.
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3/10
Good premise ruined by brainless characters
mrnunleygo4 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If you like impressive-looking sci-fi with lots of running around, you might like this. On the other hand, if you like thoughtful, intelligent science fiction, you can safely give this one a pass. With a talented cast, good budget, and a terrific premise by Phil Dick (who also inspired the brilliant Blade Runner and Total Recall), this should have been a fine movie. I don't know whether to blame the director, the writer (adapter), or both. (Each has done things I've liked in the past.) There are lots of troublesome inconsistencies, but I want to keep spoilers to a minimum. I can suspend disbelief and I think I have a fair tolerance for implausible heroics and holes in plots. But in science fiction or in fantasy, realism by default must be grounded in the characters, and I couldn't make myself believe the two leads—one a supposedly brainy weapons scientist, the other a top intelligence official—could possibly be so much stupider than the viewing audience. Neither seems capable of self-reflection or insight into the motives of anyone else. An interrogation scene near the beginning of the movie is a brain-numbing disaster. Vincent D'Onofrio's bullet-headed intelligence officer is portrayed as impervious to critical thought and mindlessly cruel. If he believes the circumstances are as he says slightly later in the film, it's senseless for him to act and talk as he does during the interrogation. (Also, didn't anyone ever teach him about the concept of "misinformation"?) Meanwhile, Gary Sinise's rocket scientist, instead of trying to persuade onlookers by asking obvious logical questions, adopts an initial strategy for escape makes no sense whatsoever (and has no obvious point). Mekhi Phifer, good as always, plays the only role that seems remotely plausible. The film director does achieve the small miracle of making a character played by Madeleine Stowe uninteresting, but at least she is given the chance to ask, halfway through the film, the question every character should have been asking from the beginning: "How can you be sure?" That is the central theme of Dick's message, although it's message few of the characters in this film could have understood.
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It's a trifling footrace and has a plot twist you can see all the way from Mars.
jdesando3 January 2002
Earth in 2079 is less secure than in 2002. Our hero, Gary Sinise, is a weapons inventor mistaken for a bomb-carrying alien. Let the chase begin. Most of this lost-opportunity sci/fi is based on a story by Philip K. Dick, better known for his plots of `Total Recall' and the seminal `Blade Runner.'

If exploring identity were all director Gary Fleder had in mind, then all would be well. But Fleder loves the special effects and easy plot devices (like a vent in every escape scene). It becomes a trifling footrace and has a plot twist you can see all the way from Mars.

The plot holes are as many as dot our own moon: Isn't anyone interested in giving Sinise a test to show he's not an alien? Isn't it peculiar that so many vents are needed three quarters of a century from now? Hasn't the XFiles exhausted dark filmmaking by then?

Vincent D'Onofrio is a bad good guy enlarged by low angle shots, a devilish goatee, and snarls to help you see he is a bad ass. Like everything else, he is telegraphed and stereotyped,yet he does complement the identity theme enough to make the only interesting character in the film.

If you want a surfeit of strobe shots and slow mo, then go to see this loser. If you can wait until later this year, maybe Steven Speilberg and Tom Cruise will have a winner adapting Philip K. Dick for their sci-fi film called `Minority Report.'
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9/10
Better than Minority Report
fishcatz20 March 2006
I'm a bit of a Philip Dick fan but put off seeing this after the Spielberg-mangled Minority Report. Impostor moves along at a nice pace without deviating too much from the short story on which it's based. The visual effects are excellent without being overdone, and the ending just about makes Impostor a sci-fi classic. I assume the only reason this film didn't do better at the box office was due to marketing budget as there's nothing b-grade in sight, and it's been hollywoodized far better than some of PKD's other stories, cough-Paycheck-cough. Perhaps the only downside is the cast, although solid, make it look a bit like a CSI reunion. A must-see movie if you're remotely into sci-fi.
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How many more great stories of his our out there I have not read!
Silvermax2684 August 2004
This Movie was great! What I really wanna know is how much it differs from the book. I also enjoyed paycheck & although I, Robot was not one of his short stories it sure felt like one. This movie especially the first time I saw it had me hoping for one thing, then expecting another & then just when I thought I had it figured out it all blew up in my face...(literally) OUTSTANDING! See it! Much like Riddick! this Movie & story is just plain Great Sci-FI! Gary does an outstanding job convincing you that he is indeed not guilty, then you have trouble believing him as he starts to doubt himself, the whole time thinking maybe the government is just crazy, but slowly you put the pieces together & just when you think you know who or what he/she is... Just see it, it is amazing SCI-FI! I am going to buy a copy right now. ENJOY!
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4/10
Direction problems, felt kind of cheap
slowbro132152 August 2002
Well, I wasn't expecting much from this movie seeing as it is a lower-budget production. It had the problems one would expect: poor direction, including lots of unnecessary slow motion shots and cheap looking camera techniques. It really cheapened the movie and detracted from the viewing experience. If you've seen Behind Enemy Lines, you know how bad direction can ruin a movie like this one. Besides that, the plot was passable, acting was fine (maybe a little overacting by D'Onofrio) and the pace was good, so it wasn't a total loss. The ending was a bit confused - on the one hand, they didn't want to have a totally predictable ending, but on the other hand, the ending made it look like the script writers were arguing over what should happen and made an unsound compromise. They really could have done a lot better, first and foremost by firing the director, but the short story this was based on (by a true genius, Philip K. Dick) was really fantastic and a movie based on it had potential. My rating: 4/10.
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6/10
Excellent science fiction and suspense movie with great cast
ma-cortes6 October 2004
The film concerns upon a weapon engineer (Gary Sinese) and his wife(Madeleine Stowe) in the future world , as it takes place in 2079 . Then he's framed as a traitor and serve to Centauri aliens by means of an explosive in his body. He flees and is helped by a young (Meki Phifer) of the slums . They'll take on a clever security agent (Vincent D'Onofrio) until an unexpected and surprising conclusion .

From the beginning until the finishing intrigue , thrills and action-packed are unstoppable . Runtime is adequate , it's fast moving and is neither tiring, nor dull, but bemusing. In the motion picture there are pursuits , emotion, thriller, shootouts and being enough interesting. The final confrontation between the starring and the contenders is thrilling and really stimulating.

The storyline from original novel by Philip K. Dick , author of great novels and being well adapted the followings : ¨Blade Runner¨ , ¨Screamers¨ and ¨Total recall¨, among others. The film plot is pretty twisted and the ending has an extraordinary surprise. The picture takes parts here and there from other films , as in the opening scene of the film , footage of soldiers is taken from the 1997 film Starship Troopers , including some security forces who wear similar helmets ; and footage of a volcano and craters, with other explosions is taken from the film Armageddon . Special effects FX are extraordinaries , they are made by Industrial Light Magic of George Lucas Corporation. Interpretation by Gary Sinese is riveting, Madeleine Stowe is enjoyable and enticing . Vincent D'Onofrio is outstanding as his acting in ¨Full metal jacket¨.

Flick will appeal science fiction buffs and action fans. The movie didn't obtain success and failed at the box office in spite of the big budget. Rating: 6,5/10 . Well catching.
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1/10
A rather cheap adaptation of "IMPOSTOR", a 1953 novel by Phillip K. Dick
Aussie Stud4 January 2002
"IMPOSTER" is loosely based on the 1953 novel of the same title written by Phillip K. Dick (also responsible for sci-fi classics such as "BLADE RUNNER" and "TOTAL RECALL") and is actually the second story in a trilogy titled "THE LIGHT YEARS TRILOGY", loosely based on the relationship between humans and aliens.

Originally planned to be released as a 30-minute short, Miramax was apparently so impressed with what they saw, they requested extra footage be shot so that it could be released as a full-length feature film.

Unfortunately, "IMPOSTER" would have been better off left as a 30-minute length feature.

Several problems plagued the production of this film, including several attempts to 're-title' the film as "IMPOSTOR", "THE IMPOSTER" and "CLONE" and the infamous release dates that were juggled around based on the general public's appetite for a film of this genre.

"IMPOSTER" could be described as a sci-fi thriller mixed with some drama. The film takes place in the year 2079. Gary Sinise portrays Spencer Olham an engineer who has the perfect life: a good job, a loving family and a beautiful wife (Madeline Stowe). Unfortunately, "IMPOSTER" takes the tired route (ie. "THE SIXTH DAY", "TOTAL RECALL") where Spencer wakes up the next day and he is public enemy number one. It appears that he has been accused of being an alien spy and he spends the rest of the film trying to prove his identity and innocence while also dealing with paranoia.

"IMPOSTER" certainly isn't a slick piece of work, but it wasn't the worse thing that I've seen either. Most of the sci-fi films released lately have been mostly hit-and-miss (ie. "JOHN CARPENTER'S: GHOSTS OF MARS", "A.I.", etc) and "IMPOSTER" is certainly no different. While watching this movie, it isn't hard to see that this was shot on a very tight budget. The sets are almost 'cardboard-like' and it is a little hard to believe that this could be the very society we could be looking forward to living in 80 years from now. But this is where your imagination is supposed to come into play, but the movie doesn't provide much to support it. The characters are very wooden and I'm getting a little tired of seeing Vincent D'Onfrio portraying the bad guy all the time (sans his television role in "LAW & ORDER: CI"). This time he plays a nasty man named 'Hathaway' who makes it his mission to hunt down Sinise and have him bought to justice.

The whole outcome of this movie feels like something that was intended for a 'straight-to-video' release. I couldn't seem to take anything seriously in the movie. In some scenes, the special effects appear as if they were created on someone's home computer. But while the acting was a bit wooden, I do give many kudos to Sinise for trying on the role that has been played to death in so many other films. He gives "IMPOSTER" his best shot... but your best shot would be to watch this on home video.

I give "IMPOSTER" 3 out of 10. Read the book instead!
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7/10
Entertaining, Old-fashioned Action Sci Fi Flick
noralee13 December 2005
"Imposter" is an entertaining, old-fashioned action sci fi flick, based on a Philip Dick story that I had to track down in an out-of-print book because I wasn't 100% sure I got the final twist.

Good cast of Gary Sinise, Madeline Stowe in her usual wife role, Vincent D'Onofrio in an unusual sort of bad guy role, and Mekhi Phifer in I think his first non-teen role.

The futuristic special effects and constant chase scenes are ably handled by a director formerly of TV's "Homicide."

The search for a terrorist and images of ruined cities ring differently now than they might have before 9/11.

(originally written 1/13/2002;
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