Review: Imperium (2016)

The boy wizard takes on quite a different role in this neo-nazi flick. Photo: Lionsgate

The boy wizard takes on quite a different role in this neo-nazi flick. Photo: Lionsgate

Daniel Radcliffe has gone on record apologising for the things his character had to say during his latest neo-Nazi flick.

However, should he actually be apologising for a painfully dull and uncharismatic performance?

Imperium is based on the true story of FBI agent Michael German. As a fresh faced graduate, eager to prove himself, Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe) is confronted with the uncomfortable task of infiltrating a neo-Nazi, white supremacist group in an attempt to uncover their terror plans.

The film unravels the personal challenges Foster must combat in order to keep his true identity hidden, for the sake of his safety and the overall success of the operation.

Daniel Radcliffe is a brave casting choice who at first appears to me nothing more than a nervous, lego-haired FBI grad, similar to his young and arguably innocent self in Harry Potter.

Less than 30 minutes into the film, Radcliffe is shaving his head and stomping around town with a group of vile, hot-headed men who are all eager to mark their territory as ‘warriors’ and prove their seriousness to ‘take action’ in their mission of promoting ‘white power’.

I am tempted to blame Radcliffe for the disappointment I now feel after watching Imperium because his performance as Nate Foster was painfully unconvincing. However, I shall resist.

I believe he was not the worst actor to cast and actually, his nervous exterior worked in director Daniel Ragussis’ favour, as Radcliffe slowly grew in confidence and stature – slightly difficult at 5’5 – and despite often looking like a Jack Russell in a bomber jacket hunting for someone to take him seriously, he did well.

The same, sadly, cannot be said for the 106 minutes I spent looking for the point to the plot. Despite real imagery of white supremacy rallies and the burning of the cross which, admittedly, left me feeling cold.

Alongside a soundtrack which built tension and suspense in small and steady measures, the film lacked the true punch that it should have contained.

A film on such a hard hitting subject should have, at the very least, left me thinking about something other than ‘I must Google how tall Daniel Radcliffe is’.

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