Science fiction and fantasy                                            


directed by Gary Fleder

Impostor poster  
Impostor is Minority Report without the budget, a Philip K. Dick story adapted for film without big name actors or huge hype. The year is 2079 and Earth has been at war with the Centauri for decades. Spencer Olham (Gary Sinise) is a man who has arrived, a weapons builder who has just completed a major military project.

Spencer seems to be a man who likes people, but he has doubts about his bomb, his guilt echoing the way the inventors of the first atomic bomb might have felt. He and his wife Maya (Madeleine Stowe) are due to meet the Chancellor.

In spite of over 30 years of war with an advanced alien race, life for some is high-tech and sophisticated. Voice-activated showers, flying cars, and security systems that use voice recognition technology are just a few of the things that inhabitants of the sprawling metropolis can enjoy. But the war has given rise to a totalitarian state, and paranoia is intense. Spencer is accused of being a Centauri plant, a replicant carrying a bomb to assassinate the Chancellor, whilst the real Spencer Olham has been killed. He has to escape the Earth Security Agency whilst finding a way to convince them, and himself, that he is the real Olham.

Major Hathaway (Vincent D'Onofrio) leads the ESA teams assigned to execute Spencer, who desperately attempts to escape. It's a very visceral movie. There are various Philip K. Dick hallmarks, including backstreet surgery, a Bladerunner-style environment, technology capable of tracking people everywhere, and a slummy underbelly populated by society's losers. And perhaps most characteristic of all, Spencer is drugged and suffers from a confused sense of reality.

Unfortunately there aren't too many places the plot can go with a story about a man who is either an impostor or a victim of mistaken identity, so it's not full of entirely unexpected twists. The movie is tense and competently acted, but it's not the most outstanding of films. This is not only down to its similarities with other Philip K. Dick stories, it's also the way it's atmosphere and look is like so much other sci-fi. Impostor is okay: it features plenty of action, reasonable effects, and it's not too cerebral. But it's not unmissable.

Film Details

Year: 2002

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 15

If you like this, try:

Surrogates cover    

Surrogates by Jonathan Mostow
You can be anyone you want to be, provided you want to be fake.

Eye In The Sky cover    

Eye In The Sky by Philip K. Dick
An industrial accident takes a scientist on a journey that teaches him more than he thought possible about the way other people see the world.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch cover    

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
People attempt to make their lives bearable by taking Can-D. But when Palmer Eldritch returns with a new alien drug, the minds of the whole human race are at stake.

3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson