Curt’s Crappy Movie and TV Reviews #1: Imperium (2016)

By: Curtis Suthard 4/1/2017

Alright, before I dive right in here, let me take one minute to talk about these little reviews. I am not an aficionado on either film or filmmaking, which may become evident very quickly. I’m just some schlub who likes movies, all kinds of movies. I also like to complain about and rave about movies. I am definitely not some film snob (proof, you ask? I love Freddy Got Fingered. Why, you may ask? Because it’s awesome!). I’m just going to take a few moments here to tell you about a movie, or movies, that I recently watched and what I liked or, more than likely, what I did not like about them. These reviews will also not always be about new releases. Some may even be about stuff that was released ages ago. I’m just going to write about stuff that I have seen most recently and have an opinion about. I also cannot promise that there won’t be any spoilers. I’m sure something will spill out, but I’ll try to not spoil any huge twists. Now, with all that out of the way:

Imperium

(2016)

AKA: Harry Potter & the Neo-Nazi Terrorist Plot

(SPOILER WARNINGS and all that!)

Daniel Radcliff takes on another role that may help distance himself from the boy wizard that many know and love (nerd confession #128: I am not a Harry Potter fan, in the least). This time he plays a young, intelligent FBI agent, who gets recruited to go deep undercover in the dark world of Neo-Nazi assholes and help expose a possible terrorist plot. Cue the obligatory montage of Radcliffe shaving his head, immersing himself in the philosophy and culture of the group and practicing his responses and the backstory of his cover. All with the help of his handler, the always awesome Toni Colette. And out comes a pint-sized (he’s 5’5”! The same height as Emma Watson. Thus ends my only research I’m doing for this review) newly minted undercover skinhead.

Radcliffe then begins working his way through the ranks and various offshoots of the racist douche bag network. Starting with the bottom of the totem pole street-level skinheads. Onto the suburban, seemingly well educated, middle class, family man racists, who throw a good ol’ fashioned racist barbeque that include cookies with swastika on them. Cookies…..with swastikas! If at any point while watching this movie, you begin to feel the least bit bad at what may be happening to any of the members of this family, just remember cookies…..with swastikas (also they’re actors and not real, so don’t feel so bad. Weirdo). From there we meet the wannabe soldier Neo-Nazis’ militia leader, as well as the super nerdy-looking Grand Wizard of the local KKK cosplayers. Finally, we meet the Grand Poohbah, racist radio host and conspiracy theory aficionado Dallas Wolf.

Of course, as Radcliffe scampers through all branches of this racist tree (some might say it’s a Bigot-tree! Huh? If that play on words really angered you, please feel free to e-mail me at jack@nerdnationradio.com and let me have it!) he almost gets found out or blows his cover one too many times. I didn’t count how many times exactly someone almost figures it out, but it felt like a lot, so I’m just going to say: at least 47 close calls. Evidence gets collected, notes are taken down and money changes hands to get the ball rolling. Only to find out (I warned you right at the start about spoilers! So, turn back now!) that there is no plot. The radio host firebrand is a fraud and is in this for money and the “fun of it”. The militia guys are losers just playing soldier in the woods. The well-educated, casual racist family man is content to just sit back and fantasize about doing something, but lacks means and real motivation.

So, what’s the FBI to do when all the time and effort to catch terrorist comes up with no credible terrorist plot? Well, it seems like they provide the means to commit the crime and a nudge in the right direction. So does this make the FBI sort of the bad guys here? I mean through all the bigoted, racist nonsense and all the fantasizing by these idiots to “do something”, there doesn’t seem to actually be any real plans to do anything. That is until some of them are actually encouraged to and provided the means and equipment to do it by an undercover FBI agent trying to catch them committing a crime. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not feeling bad for the Neo-Nazis (remember, cookies…..with swastikas) it just got me wondering if these fictional terrorists had not gotten the push from the fictional FBI agent would they have ever actually attempted to kill a whole bunch of fictional people.

Of course, Radcliffe and his FBI pals save the day (I warned you twice now about spoilers) in true high tension fashion, at the last second. A couple of the bad guys are off to jail and Radcliffe gets praise and respect from his colleagues on a job well done. The movie ends with a good scene of the youngest of the skinhead nitwits talking to a group of school children about his poor choices and experiences, giving Radcliffe’s character some closure that he “saved” at least one person and all his efforts were possibly worth it.

This was an all right little thriller with a few truly tense moments and a whole bunch that weren’t, but probably were supposed to be. Daniel Radcliffe was really good in it, except in nearly every scene he is towered over by the rest of the cast. Which for some reason I hyper focus on. The rest of the cast was really solid, as well. Overall, not the greatest entry in the “guy goes undercover in some sort of criminal organization” genre, but worth giving a shot. A good ol’ one and done, something I’m glad to have seen once, but probably won’t ever feel the need to revisit.

 

A solid 3 pocket protectors out of 5!

 

 

Drop me a line to let me know how right I am at curt@nerdnationradio.com.

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Cookies…..with swastikas?! Expecto Patronum!