Film Review – Imperium (2016)

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Title – Imperium (2016)

Director – Daniel Ragussis (feature debut)

Cast – Daniel Radcliffe, Toni Collette, Tracy Letts, Sam Trammell, Nestor Carbonell

Plot – Young FBI operative Nate Foster (Radcliffe) is recruited by his superior Angela Zamparo (Collette) to go undercover in a white supremacist group in hopes of uncovering potential terrorist plans hatched by their spiritual leader Dallas Wolf (Letts).

“Just because you’re not looking at something… doesn’t mean it’s not there”

Review by Eddie on 23/11/2016

You could never accuse Daniel Radcliffe of not trying his very best to distance himself from his role as the boy wizard, a role that will forever follow him around no matter what, which is neither a bad nor a good thing but it certainly makes it harder for the actor to make each unique role his own.

Following on from this year’s bizarre and in some circles loved Swiss Army Man, Radcliffe has here moved on from playing a farting corpse in his portrayal of undercover FBI operative Nate Foster whose become a white supremacist in hopes of uncovering potential terrorist attacks planned throughout the United States.

It’s a neat set up but Imperium is a fairly budget affair that suffers from a lack of genuine spectacle and thrills and while Radcliffe commits to the cause in his usual boots and all fashion, it’s a tough gig for the diminutive star to pull off a character that would successfully be welcomed into a gang of white thugs, most of whom have more muscles on their thumb than he does overall and some of the films scenes, in particular an odd start where Radcliffe looks to be playing dress ups with his agency co-workers or driving a much to big SUV around, you can’t help but feel as though Radcliffe has been miscast in this role.

Against the odds however, debut director Daniel Ragussis and his cast that includes a rather forgettable Toni Collette make Imperium work throughout its middle section and the film takes a nice sidewards turn in its later stages as we become aware of the stories real villain after suspecting events to play out in a certain fashion for a majority of the films running time while Imperium’s inspired by real cases story does offer us another look at the dark side of white supremacy that still finds itself a part of many countries around the world and especially certain sectors of the American landscape. It shows this faction is in many ways just as dangerous as more vehemently hated terrorist groups.

There’s props for trying here in Imperium’s case and despite the misguided nature of his casting, it’s still refreshing to see Radcliffe try new things where he could easily sit back and be type cast. Imperium would’ve benefited greatly from more scope, but this uniquely set thriller has enough moments to make it worth a look.

2 ½ oversized steering wheels out of 5

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