Imperium, Blu-ray (2016)

by | Oct 22, 2016 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

A thriller again about an uncover agent – this time of white supremacist groups.

Imperium, Blu-ray (2016)

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Toni Collette, Burn Gorman, Nestor Carbonell, Sam Trammell
Director: Daniel Ragussis
Studio: Grindstone/ Lionsgate Premiere (11/1/16)
Video: 2.40:1 for 16:9 screens, HD 1080p color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Extras: Commentary track with director and writer Michael German, “Living Undercover” featurette, “Making Imperium,” Interviews with cast & crew, Trailer gallery
Length: 89 min.
Rating: *****

This is a third undercover-type of story, like The Night Manager and The InfiltratorYou might want to view the second and third extras first before seeing the feature. The rather nebish rookie FBI desk worker is recruited by his boss because she feels he has the personality that will fit him into the white supremacist movement. He is forced to shave his own head and read much white supremacist literature, including Mein Kampf. (Radcliffe is the same actor who played the corpse in Swiss Army Man.)

This is based on true events in the life of FBI undercover man Michael German, who was the writer on the film and worked with actor Radcliffe as well as the director, for whom this was his first feature film. His actual experiences were brought up to date for the film. There is one scene very similar to one in The Infiltrator, where some of the bad guys get to suddenly see the tape recorder inside the infiltrator’s briefcase and identify him as an FBI man. In this case the white supremacist only pulls out a strap to the computer under the sofa cushion where the undercover man communicates to his boss at the FBI, and everything is fine. Only in this case instead of selling illegal arms to foreign countries or the Columbian cocaine dealers, it is the white supremacists, who are amazingly diverse and spend as much time fighting among themselves as against the public at large.

The undercover FBI man has been in Iraq as an interpreter, but he is raised to a supposed position in the Marines and can aid the white supremacists in matters of security, gun readiness, etc. He is also well-liked by the bad guys but constantly under scrutiny about being an informer. One can constantly feel the tenseness of his role among the white supremacists and the conflict he is under. He works to get close to a small-time right-wing TV personality and uncovers a plot by some of the white supremacists to build a dirty bomb to affect the city’s entire water supply with radioactive material. He has to find the leader of the group before his cover is blown. As in The Infiltrator, the FBI crew comes too soon. He becomes friends with one of the more intellectual members of the group, who listens to Brahms symphonies with great ardor, and it is difficult for him to have them arrested, as it was in The Infiltrator.

—John Sunier

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