Imperium

Imperium follows FBI agent Nate Foster as he works to infiltrate a neo-Nazi group to stop a terrorist act.

A film that explores the extents that the saviours of freedom will go to protect freedoms, on both sides of the law, Imperium features an incredibly masculine performance from Daniel Radcliffe, a remorseless Toni Collette as his FBI handler, Pawel Szajda as Nate’s link to the neo-Nazi work, Vince Sargent, the radical group leader, Andrew Blackwell, played by Chris Sullivan, white supremacist celebrity Dallas Wolf, played by Tracy Letts and a fantastically cast Sam Trammell as Jerry.

“Something big is happening.”

It’s a dark story, based on true events, that will certainly shock as the story is told in an unflinching, brutal way as Nate’s world is further divided.

Whilst Nate may ingratiate himself with relative ease into the world, he runs up against the suspicions of Vince’s chief of security, a narrow minded (both racially and generally) Roy.   Thankfully, for Nate, his “military credentials” stand him in good stead, even though it drives a bigger wedge between the pair.

With Nate’s popularity growing, and his ability to get in front of the right people giving him unprecedented access, the extent of the plans are fully revealed, the stakes become higher and Nate’s convictions are truly tested.

“Language. Please. Kids.”

The radicalists are portrayed with depth – regular people with a questionable view, with families and allegiances.  Their views may be seen as criminal, but this doesn’t mean that they necessarily are.

We see that the true leaders of the supremacist movement look down upon the thugs of their group.  There’s a need for them, though they do nothing to progress the movement in the way that the leaders envisage.

Very much like American History X and The Believer, the story feels real, lacking the sensationalism that would have tainted such a tale in previous times.  The supremacists are shown committing horrifying acts, but are never drawn as pantomime villains against a white-than-white justice system.  Sam Trammel’s Jerry is a fine example of this, a respectable businessman, intelligent, charismatic and family oriented, yet with views that would shock those who claim to be rational thinking – he walks the fine line between “that sounds sensible” and “what did he just say?” that some conversations about race walk.

Daniel Radcliffe is a revelation, in a role that should define his career as a serious actor.  He brings complexity to the character and anyone who has seen The Believer will see parallels between this performance and Ryan Gosling’s powerful performance.

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