Director: Bart Layton
Starring: Frederic Bourdin, Carey Gibson, Charlie Parker.
Running Time: 95 mins
Release date: 24th August 2012
A young boy from San Antonio, Texas disappears. no one knows where he is or whether is he alive or dead. Three years later, the Spanish police receive a phone call claiming that a young boy has been found, very scared and needs to be picked up.
And so begins the most bizarre and somewhat unbelievable story of how a family can be duped into accepting a complete stranger into their lives. Without giving too much information, because that makes this tale even more amazing, this documentary by Bart Layton is an absolute revelation, not only in story telling but in film making too.
The incredible true story of Frederic Bourdin is one that will have you saying to yourself, ‘Really? Are people that stupid?’ According to Layton, yes they can. Mixing vox pop style talking heads of all the major players with dramatisation of the events, this is not only a fascinating account of a story that, if you were watching as a straight narrative movie, you’d have walked out because of the ludicrousness of the tale, it is also a stylish film that takes you on an incredible journey while never letting you find time to lose interest.
It is to the credit of Layton that he has managed to get all the people involved to talk about their experiences and giving them enough respect and room to be honest about what happened, with Bourdin at the centre of the piece. At the same time, he throws up some interesting arguments about what to believe and what not to believe.
There were moments throughout that I kept asking questions to myself while watching this strange story unfold. Firstly, why the family of the missing boy allowed to be conned the way they were and going along with everything that was being told them? Secondly, how did Bourdin have the guts to go on with his implausible story without realising he would get caught? And finally, how did a member of the FBI be so dumb?
Now you might be reading this, wondering what on earth I am talking about without telling you a single thing about the film. I am wondering how the hell I am managing to write about it without giving away a single thing to. All I can really say is that this is a film best entered without much information beforehand. I saw it at a surprise preview and didn’t have a single clue what it was dealing with. all I know is I left that cinema having watched an incredible documentary that should be seen to be believed.
It also introduces to the world a man who should at least get his own TV show. Private investigator, Charlie Parker. He is a TV detective cliche and becomes the star of the piece.
Shocking, sometimes hilariously funny and totally bonkers, this is the best documentary I have seen since last year’s Senna and it demands your attention. The film makers asked the audience I saw it with to spread the word. I am gladly doing that and I say now…forget the blockbusters, rush to see this astonishing story. They say truth is stranger than fiction, this is the living proof.